The 28-year-old man who drowned off the Raglan coast swimming with family yesterday was attending an unveiling ceremony for a teen who lost his life in a railway accident.
Mingy Uerata was plucked unresponsive from the water after he got into difficulty swimming and drifted out to sea.
The Tokoroa man was with five other family members in the water near Te Koraha Marae at Taharoa, south of Kawhia, when the tragedy happened.
An attempt was made to resuscitate him back on the beach but he could not be revived.
Fairfax has reported families were gathered at the marae over the weekend for an unveiling ceremony for dead Te Kuiti teen Ngaremu Uerata-King.
The 14-year-old was killed in a train accident in October 2014.
Those at the marae were also celebrating a family birthday and wedding.
Friends and family have taken to social media to express their disbelief and grief at the sudden loss.
Tiana Kauika paid a heartfelt tribute on her Facebook page saying he would always be special to her.
"R.I.P my bro Mingi. you will always have a special place in my heart. I [will] always love no matter what." (sic)
She said he always made her feel special and they spent many nights on the phone laughing.
Biko Rio posted: "Even though he had no ears sometimes lols but he was a loveable chap did no harm to anyone so yeah R.I.P Mingi."
Kristina Jerry posted: "Rachet news .. resteasycous #MingyUerata #WestKoast."
Police say the dead man was taken to Kawhia and the matter was now with the coroner.
Mr Uerata became the ninth drowning victim since January 1.