A public swimming pool complex in Whangarei has been blessed by a kaumatua following the death of a man earlier today.

A man in his 50s passed away at the Whangarei Aquatic Centre in Ewing Rd after first aid by a lifeguard and then St John ambulance staff.

Facilities manager Scott Linklater said the man, who was a regular user of the pools, collapsed and appeared to suffer a heart attack while in a spa pool at the complex about 6.45am.

Mr Linklater said a lifeguard on duty at the time responded quickly and used a defibrillator. St John staff arrived and continued but were unable to revive the man.


"Our thoughts are with the family at this time. He was a regular user and knew most of the staff, who are very upset," Mr Linklater said.

It was thought the man had been using the pool complex over the last 15 years.

Mr Linklater said a kaumatua blessed the site about 10am.

Out of respect the complex was shut this morning but was scheduled to open at midday.