A person has died following a dramatic beach rescue attempt at Waimarama Beach, near Hastings, where three people were caught in big surf.
Police said the person died after being recovered from the water shortly before 7pm and two others were taken to Hawke's Bay Hospital in a moderate condition.
The Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter was also flying to the coastal settlement.
The incident came just hours after the well-attended Waimarama Beach Day, which attracts hundreds of people annually.
This is the second drowning in the Hawke's Bay region this week.
On Tuesday, 35-year-old Taupo woman Amy Jenny Brown tragically died in the water near the Haumoana river mouth after she tried to rescue two young children in trouble.
Her body was found early on Wednesday morning.
Meanwhile, a search and rescue operation is underway for a teenage boy believed to have been swept away in the Rangitikei River in Manawatu this evening.
Police were notified about 6pm that the boy was missing, a police spokeswoman said.
He was understood to have last been seen around 45 minutes earlier, near the bridge where State Highway 1 crosses the river south of Bulls.
"Police are out searching along with members of his family, and the rescue helicopter has also been assisting," she said.
She understood a jet boat was also searching on the river.