A man swept out to sea in a rip in the Coromandel Peninsula has died after efforts to revive him failed.

The incident took place at Onemana Beach just before 3pm today when two men were caught in a rip.

The beach had lifeguards but the men were understood to have swum north, out of the flagged area, when they got into difficulty, Surf Life Saving said.

An Onemana Surf Life Saving Club lifeguard then leapt into action.

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"He swam out to the two men and brought them in to shore and began CPR on one of them," Surf Life Saving said.

Two more lifeguards and an off-duty guard then joined in to help.

"CPR was carried out for 15 minutes by the Surf Lifeguards, assisted by off-duty medical personnel, until an ambulance arrived. The man was pronounced deceased at the scene."

The man's death has been referred to the Coroner.

Surf Life Saving said its thoughts were with the man's family and friends, while also thanking members of the public who helped rescue efforts.

Today's tragedy follows the death of two people who drowned in separate incidents yesterday, marking a horror start to the holiday season.

A man died on Christmas morning after getting into difficulty while crab fishing at Uretiti Beach, south of Whangarei. His body was pulled from the water at midday.

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Then close to 3pm, a second person drowned while snorkelling at Kai Iwi Lakes north of Dargaville.

Their deaths came on top of the 71 preventable drownings recorded across New Zealand in 2019 as of December 20.