Police have started to piece together how a man died diving south of Kaikoura this afternoon.

Emergency services were called at 1.40pm to Goose Bay where the man in his 40s was pulled from the water.

Ambulance staff were performing CPR and a rescue helicopter was sent to pick up the man, but he was dead before it arrived.

Police are working to identify the diver and contact his next of kin.

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His death will be referred to the coroner when police teams have finished examining the scene.