Police have confirmed that a man has died in a water-related incident in the Bay of Plenty.
Emergency services were alerted to the incident near Whakatāne Heads at 6.16pm yesterday.
Unfortunately, the man died at the scene," said a police spokesperson.
The man's death has been referred to the coroner.
Following the death, a four-day rāhui has been put in place in an area of ocean and foreshore in front of the Whakatāne headlands, a Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa media statement said.
A rāhui, or ban, is a cultural practice that restricts access to, or use of, an area and its resources.
Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa Chairman Joe Harawira said the rāhui would begin today and run until Thursday.
Access to the area from the Whakatāne headlands to, but not including West End beach, and its resources has been restricted for four days. The rāhui area includes Ōtarawairere bay.
Harawira offered condolences to the person's whānau on behalf of the Rūnanga and asked that people adhere to rules of the rāhui as way of respecting their grief and Ngati Awa cultural practices.
"We are the kaitiaki of this rohe (area) and our cultural practices dictate that we must instill a rāhui when something like this happens to keep everyone safe, but this also allows us to show respect to the grieving family. Our thoughts go out to this person's whānau at this time."