Two people have drowned after getting into difficulty at Piha Beach, west of Auckland.
Police say three men went into the water about 7.45pm on Saturday.
One was pulled from the water in a serious condition and was taken to Waitakere Hospital.
A search that evening involving a police helicopter, the Westpac Rescue Helicopter and surf rescue could not find the others.
Police say searchers found two bodies on the north side of Lion Rock at the beach on Sunday morning.
Piha Surf Life Saving Club captain Tony Featherstone, who took part in the search, said the men went into the water at one of the most dangerous parts of the beach.
It was outside surf patrol hours and they entered the water at location where there would not have been surf patrol flags anyway.
Mr Featherstone said if they had been swimming during patrol times, life guards would have told them about the dangers of the area.
The deaths will be investigated by police.