Tragedy has unfolded at a popular Whangārei Heads surf beach with the discovery of a man's body in the water earlier this afternoon.
Northland Police Senior Sergeant Shane Turner said a man of European descent and around 65-years-old was found dead in the surf at the southern end of Ocean Beach, around 35km from central Whangārei, shortly before 1.13pm.
Police were still investigating the cause of death but it was not being treated as suspicious.
Turner said initial enquiries led police to believe the man had been swimming at the time.
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St John paramedics and the Whangārei Heads Volunteer Fire Brigade attended the scene alongside police.
The Advocate understands surfers at the scene had brought the person ashore.
A resident, who did not want to be named, said it was low-tide at the beach with "decent" but messy waves around the time emergency services responded to the call out.