A man died when a boat sank off the north Taranaki coast.
A recreational craft went down at Waitara sand bar and police are currently working to bring it and the deceased man back to shore.
Sergeant Bruce Irvine said the partially submerged boat was found at about 6.30am.
He said a woman was found sitting in the boat and the man's body was found floating beside it.
Other than being cold and tired the woman is unharmed, Mr Irvine said.
Waitara local, Brian Kilmister said he came across the woman holding onto the deceased man early this morning.
"She reckons she's been there all night, so we managed to get her in my boat, but we couldn't get him in," he said.
Mr Kilmister said he couldn't understand her well as she was so upset, but she kept saying the man was alive.
"I had to tell her I'm sorry he's gone, he's passed away, and he'd been dead for a while too."
He said there are rumours the boat had flipped when the woman tried to help the man get a big fish onto the boat.
The man wasn't wearing a life jacket when they found him, Mr Kilmister said.
Mr Irvine said police were now in the process of informing the next of kin.
He could not speculate on what had caused the boat to sink, but said the sea conditions were good.
The death has been referred to the coroner.