A Tokomaru Bay school is mourning the sudden death of a 12-year-old boy who suffered a suspected cardiac arrest.

The boy collapsed at Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Tokomaru primary school at 11am yesterday.

The school's board chairwoman Donna Baker said staff carried out CPR before emergency services arrived shortly after.

"Our whānau is our priority at the moment and we just want to make sure they are okay," Baker said.

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She said the school would not be commenting further at this stage.

Police, St John Ambulance from Ruatoria, the Tokomaru Bay volunteer fire brigade and the ECT rescue helicopter responded to the emergency.

"Attempts were made to resuscitate the boy but he could not be revived," police said.

"We can confirm the boy was under specialist care for a medical condition."

The boy's body was flown to Gisborne Hospital by the ECT Rescue Helicopter.

The chopper was also used to fly the boy's father, a forestry worker, to join other grieving family members at the school.

Victim Support services have been offered to the family.

Police have an inquiry under way into the tragedy on behalf of the coroner.