A prisoner has died in a South Auckland prison today.

A spokeswoman for the Auckland South Corrections Facility at Wiri said the man was "taken ill" at 4.05pm.

"Prison staff responded immediately and attempted resuscitation until St John's Ambulance arrived. Sadly the prisoner was pronounced dead at 4.55pm," she said.

"Next of kin have been informed, and our thoughts are with the man's family and friends. Counselling and other support is available to both prisoners and staff."

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Police and the coroner had been informed. The spokeswoman said all deaths in custody were investigated by the coroner and the corrections inspectorate.

The high-security prison for men is operated by Serco in a public-private partnership with the Department of Corrections.