Two tourists escaped with minor injuries after being swept out to sea off the Coromandel coast this afternoon.
Police northern communications Inspector Jason Greenhalgh said the tourists got caught in a rip at Whangamata beach about 1pm.
However, Whangamata lifeguards on duty managed to rescue the pair.
"Both received medical treatment, as a precaution, by ambulance at the scene. However, they didn't have any serious injuries," he said.
A witness at the beach said they saw the IRB "screaming" out over the water to save the pair who were well outside the flags.
She described the waves at the beach quite "dumpy" and rough.
Ten people have drowned in New Zealand waters so far this year, and Mr Greenhalgh expected for it only to get worse if people didn't swim between the flags.