A 57-year-old man has drowned trying to saving two young relatives who got into trouble collecting pipi in Tauranga Harbour.

The Tauranga-based TrustPower TECT Rescue Helicopter was called to help search for the missing shell fisherman in the harbour between Te Puna and Omokoroa.

The two young children made it to shore safety but the man didn't.

The rescue helicopter along with Tauranga Coastguard were called to search for the man.


His body was spotted by the helicopter crew 1km down the channel towards Mount Maunganui, and he was recovered by boat shortly afterwards.

Victim support are with the man's family.