A man who died after falling from a commercial fishing charter north of Auckland was an elderly man fishing with a relative.

He is believed to have been onboard a Kaipara Kat Fishing Charter when emergency services were called to Shelly Beach Head, about 19km north of Parakai, about 10.30am.

A coastguard spokesperson said the man had fallen overboard while in the Kaipara Harbour but was pulled back on to the boat.

She said he suffered a medical event once back on board the vessel.

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Westpac Rescue Helicopter intensive care paramedic Karl Taylor said the man was elderly, and was with a relative.

He was unclear about exactly what had happened, but said the man had suffered a cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the scene.

It appeared the boat had been out in the water for some time, Taylor said.

Rescue Helicopter crew left the scene without transporting the man. By that stage police had arrived.

A Kaipara Kat Fishing Charter staff member who answered the phone this afternoon said staff were too upset to talk.

"I'm sure you can understand this is a really stressful time and at the moment we're not talking to any reporters."

It's understood crew from another local charter went to assist with the rescue.

A police spokeswoman said the matter had been referred to the Coroner.

The man's family members were still being informed of his death and she declined to comment further.