A trainee doctor in his final year of medical school has died after a spear-fishing trip near Tauranga.
Jacob Beck-Jaffurs was pronounced dead when he was brought ashore to Pilot Bay on Friday afternoon.
Tauranga police Sergeant Craig Madden said emergency services were called to a boat ramp just before 1pm and found the Whangarei man unconscious and unresponsive.
His grieving parents, Chip Jaffurs and Barbara Beck, have paid tribute to a "magnificent, awesome young man".
"Jacob had a lot of experience in all sorts of water sports after growing up in and around water since he was little," his mother said.
"He was also an avid surfer and an excellent athlete and he was in top physical shape."
His father said "the world has just lost a wonderful young man who would have made a great doctor".
He was involved in a charity that helped pupils at low-decile schools.
Madden said Beck-Jaffurs had been spear-fishing off Kawera Island - 14.5km from Pilot Bay - for several hours during the morning before he was found unconscious on the seabed by his diving buddy, who administered CPR.
Tauranga Hospital communications manager Diana Marriott said Beck-Jaffurs had been doing a six-week internship rotation at the hospital as part of his medical training.
Madden said the death has been referred to the coroner.
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