A man, believed to be a tourist, drowned in Northland this afternoon.

The tragedy happened off the Ahipara Beach end of 90 Mile Beach about 4.40pm.

Fire appliances from Ahipara and Kaitaia attended and assisted St John paramedics with administering CPR on the man.

Kaitaia Fire Brigade station officer Selwyn Subritzky said the drowned man was 50-years-old and his wife was with him when he got into trouble.

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The weather was cloudy and sea conditions rough when the man drowned, he said.

A witness said he saw hordes of people gather near the public toilet at the beach while attempts were made to revive the man.

Police were later notified. The circumstances surrounding the death were not clear.