A 68-year-old man has died after "a simple, tragic accident" in Opua this morning in which a large yacht collided with a dinghy he was rowing, knocking him into the water.
A witness who was with the tall ship R Tucker Thompson was alongside the wharf when he heard the collision and went to the aid of the man in the water.
The witness, who did not want to be named, said the collision occurred nearby the entrance and the wharf.
The man was knocked into the water and was quickly pulled onto the wharf.
He was pulled from the water unconscious, and by-standers gave him CPR.
The witness said he also used a defibrillator from a moored yacht on the man, but that the man did not recover and was then pronounced dead.
"It was a very tragic event, a tragic accident," the witness said.
Police say the accident occurred at 8.30am.
Police at the scene are interviewing witnesses and the crew of the yacht.
The deceased is believed to be a local man, however further details will not be released until formal identification procedures have been completed and next of kin notified.