A coroner's report has found alcohol was a major factor in the drowning death of a Palmerston North man as he was gathering pipis off the Manawatu Coast in September last year.
The man had a blood alcohol content three times the legal drink-driving limit at the time of his death.
Palmerston North coroner Tim Scott says the man gave himself very little chance of survival when he dived into the water, having drunk a considerable amount of alcohol.
The evening before the man's death he had stayed up all night drinking, and the following afternoon drank at least two cans of pre-mixed bourbon and colas on the drive to Himatangi Beach with his partner, children and a friend.
The man's partner was watching him swim from the shore, then lost sight of him, initially thinking he might be hiding in the waves as a joke.
She soon became concerned and called emergency services, while their friend went into the sea to look. The police arrived 10 minutes later.
Coastguards found the man's body 100 metres offshore. It appeared he had been caught in a rip and dragged out beyond the breakers.
Coroner Tim Scott has made public details of how and why the man died - despite a request from the family to suppress the case - in the hope that this will lessen the chances of similar deaths in the future.
But in an unusual move, he suppressed the man's name to protect the identity of his children.
In his report, Mr Scott said he was persuaded by a small margin to grant suppression to protect the the identity of the man's children following submissions from their school and a counsellor.
The chief coroner's office says suppression orders to protect children are not becoming more common and there has been no policy change.