WorkSafe New Zealand, police and the Department of Conservation are each investigating how a 73-year-old man died while on a tour of Moutohorā Island (Whale Island).

The tourist fell during a guided tour on the Bay of Plenty island on Thursday and was seriously injured.

Whakatāne police confirmed they are investigating the incident on behalf of the coroner but not treating it as suspicious.

Trustpower TECT Rescue Helicopter airlifted the injured person to Tauranga Hospital. Pilot Liam Brettkelly said the man fell about seven metres off a walking track, landing on rocks below.


"We had to winch him out, using the winch from the helicopter. We were only out there for maybe an hour."

Department of Conservation senior community ranger Mike Jones confirmed all tour operations on the island have been suspended until further notice while investigations were ongoing.

"Some of our staff who were working on the island at the time assisted in preparing the injured person to be winched up by the air ambulance."