A lifeguard, then St John officer were not able to revive a man who collapsed while at a Whangarei swimming pool complex.

The 61-year-old died at the Whangarei Aquatic Centre in Ewing Rd despite first aid by a lifeguard and then St John ambulance staff yesterday.

Facilities manager Scott Linklater said the man, who was a regular user of the pools, collapsed and appeared to suffer a heart attack while in a spa pool at the complex about 6.45am.

Mr Linklater said a lifeguard on duty at the time responded quickly and used a defibrillator. St John staff arrived and continued but were unable to revive the man.

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"Our thoughts are with the family at this time. He was a regular user of the pools and knew most of the staff, who are very upset," Mr Linklater said.

It was thought the man had been using the pool complex over the past 15 years.

Mr Linklater said a kaumatua blessed the site about 10am. Out of respect the complex was shut during the morning but was scheduled to open at midday.

Whangarei police Sergeant Paul Nicholas said the matter had been handed over to the coroner.

Mr Nicholas confirmed there were no suspicious circumstances. The man's name has not been released yet as some family members were still to be contacted.