A man in his 70s who died at Waihi Beach despite desperate efforts to revive him was wearing a wetsuit and life jacket.
A police spokeswoman said police were called to Waihi Beach at 1.35pm on Monday after the man was found unresponsive in the water about 70 to 80 metres offshore from the Island View Esplanade Reserve, near the intersection with Bonito Ave.
He was brought to shore by members of the public and CPR was performed by attending police, followed other emergency personnel but the man died at the scene, she said.
Police today named the dead man as Jung Nam Shin, 76, of Auckland.
Shortly after 2pm a TECT Rescue Helicopter crew was called to the beach.
The helicopter crew, St John Ambulance, Fire and Emergency New Zealand personnel and police all swung into action to try to help the unresponsive man.
TECT Rescue Helicopter paramedic Dave Harrison said when he and two other crew members arrive on scene at 2.10pm, two police officers were still performing CPR.
Harrison said he and other crew members took over from the police officers and took turns with St John personnel and Waihi Beach firefighters continuing to do CPR.
"There was 10 of us doing CPR on him for at least 35 minutes. It's difficult to know how long he was in the water but we all did the best we could to try and revive him."
Harrison said the man was wearing a wetsuit and a lifejacket.
He said some family members were down at the beach at the time but due to language difficulties, it was not known exactly how the deceased ended up in the surf.
Waihi Beach Lifeguard Service director of lifesaving James Lloyd said the unresponsive man was brought to shore by two members of the public as police arrived at the scene.
He said the two attending police officers immediately began CPR on the man until the St John Ambulance staff and other emergency services personnel arrived.
Lloyd said the man's body was taken to the surf life saving clubrooms and held there until a funeral director arrived.
The death has been referred to the coroner for investigation, a police spokeswoman said.
Lloyd said it was timely to remind people that when visiting any beach to ensure they never swim or surf alone.
"It's really important to always do so with a friend or family member so you can help look out for each other should anyone get into difficulties," he said.