A woman who drowned at a popular Taranaki beach on Monday night wasn't swimming during lifeguards' patrolled hours, Surf Life Saving NZ says.
There were large swells at Oakura Beach, in New Plymouth, when she went swimming with another person at around 7.45pm on Monday. The two were pulled farther out to sea by a rip.
While the man was able to signal for help, the woman was found by a surfer face-down in the water, according to a Surf Life Saving NZ spokesperson today.
Seven off-duty lifeguards were nearby and tried to help, with two bringing the woman back to shore and others helping bring the man back in an inflatable rescue boat.
Emergency services were called at around 8.25pm and the woman was given CPR, but she died at the scene, according to Surf Lifesaving NZ.
The man was treated at Taranaki Base Hospital.
"Our thoughts are with the woman’s family and friends at this sad time," Surf Life Saving NZ says.
A rāhui is in place at the beach until Sunday, Ngāti Tairi hapū say.