A rider has died in a motocross event near Matata, north of Whakatāne, this afternoon.

Police said they were called to an incident at 1.30pm after a man fell off a bike and suffered a cardiac arrest near the tiny coastal township.

A police spokeswoman said the man's age was unknown at this stage, but confirmed the incident was a fatality.

It's not clear if the man suffered injuries when he fell from the bike.

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St John Ambulance confirmed they attended a medical event shortly after noon at Matata but would not elaborate.

Burt's Farm Trail Ride was taking place at Mihiha Rd, 5kms north of Matata, when the incident happened.

The classic trail ride is open to adults and children and the main track was up to 20km long.

A children's track and family track was between 3-5km long and the event ran from 9am to 3pm.

A neighbour said she didn't know what had happened but saw emergency services go up the road earlier in the day.

Organiser John Burt did not respond to Herald inquiries.