A man from the Czech Republic is dead after he went over a raging Whangarei waterfall in a kayak during torrential conditions yesterday.

The 29-year-old kayaker was with three others, one from Whangarei and two from Auckland, when the four went over the 5m-high waterfall on the Wairoa River, off Puketitoi Rd, about 25km west of Whangarei about 1.30pm.

Whangarei police Sergeant Craig Burrows said the four kayakers were equipped with safety gear, including lifejackets, but the man's three colleagues were unable to revive him when they recovered him from the raging water.

Mr Burrows said all four had gone over the waterfall and the Czech national struggled at the bottom of the falls and got caught in the rapids.


"He got into trouble and was pulled under many times," Mr Burrows said.

"His friends managed to reach him, pull him up a cliff and perform CPR, which was unsuccessful."

The man had been living in New Zealand, and Mr Burrows said his next of kin in the Czech Republic had been informed of his death. They had yet to make a decision whether to fly to New Zealand or wait for the return of his body. The man's name has not being released.