A 51-year-old Swiss tourist has died at Ninety Mile Beach despite the efforts of two passers-by, then St John and fire crews from Ahipara and Kaitaia, to revive him.

According to police, Beat Wyass and his partner, who had been travelling around New Zealand for two months, went bodyboarding with a friend near Ahipara's Foreshore Rd about 4pm on Tuesday.

His partner, concerned by the force of the waves, got out of the water. When she turned around she saw Mr Wyass face down in the surf.

The water was a little rougher than usual, but the surf did not extend far out from the beach.


Two passers-by began performing CPR until they were relieved by emergency services when they arrived a short time later. They continued their efforts to revive Mr Wyass for 30 minutes, ceasing only when it became clear their efforts would not be successful. The body was taken to a funeral home in Kaitaia.

Mr Wyass was widely reported on Tuesday as a victim of drowning, although the cause of death had yet to be officially confirmed at edition time yesterday.

Two people have already drowned in Northland waters this year.

Water Safety New Zealand provisional drowning statistics for 2015 show 15 people drowned in Northland - four more than in 2014.