The reality TV show Piha Rescue has saved many lives but it "can't stop Kiwi blokes being Kiwi blokes".
This reflection comes from Piha Surf Lifesaving Club captain Tony Featherstone after two young men drowned during a Saturday night swim at the notoriously dangerous Auckland beach.
A third man was pulled from the water and remains in moderate condition in Waitakere Hospital.
The deaths are the first at the famous surf beach this summer, taking the toll to six since 2009.
The vicious rips and changeable conditions at Piha are well known internationally thanks to the high-profile reality TV show, running for the past decade.
But Mr Featherstone says the publicity it generates can only do so much.
"We have a lot to thank that programme for. A decade ago you could never have sent a young lifeguard down to tell a big burly guy to swim between the flags, but now you can. They actually listen."
"But unfortunately you can't stop everything," he told NZ Newswire.
"When you've got young men... doing things young men do, swimming in jeans at night in a dangerous spot, you can only do what you can do."
The trio, aged in their early 20s, were friends from the south Auckland suburb of Papatoetoe.
They went swimming in their clothes just north of Lion Rock, a notorious rip zone, at about 7pm. One of the three was pulled alive from the water by lifeguards after 8pm.
The bodies of the two others were discovered during a search on Sunday morning.
No alcohol was found on the beach where the men had been sitting.
Mr Featherstone used the incident to send out a timely reminder.
"Be aware of the conditions and ideally never swim when you can't see the red and yellow flags."
"Go for a romantic walk along the beach instead. It's not worth the risk."