A 28-year-old man has been identified as the man found swept out to sea off the Kawhia Coast earlier today.

Police said tonight emergency services were called to the area at about 1pm after the man, from Tokoroa, got into trouble while swimming near Te Koraha Marae, in Taharoa.

He had been with five family members when he got into difficulty in the water and was swept out.

A rescue helicopter was sent to try and find him; as was a local vessel - at the request of the Coastguard.

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Crew members of the boat found the man, who was unresponsive. They attempted to resuscitate him, but he could not be saved.

His death has been referred to the coroner.