In two separate incidents, two men died while trying to rescue children in Lake Wakatipu.
Meanwhile the search for a 15-year-old missing in Whangamatā's Opoutere Beach continues for a third day.
New signs have been put up warning people of the dangers near the mouth of Rees River at Glenorchy.
But for two people it's too little too late with two drownings in less than a week.
"The community's gutted about this. There's anger, there's frustration," Queenstown Lakes District Councillor Niki Gladding told Newshub.
Last Friday a Wānaka man died saving his 10-year-old son from Lake Wakatipu. The same thing, in the same place, happened at 4pm on Thursday. The man's body was found on Friday afternoon.
"We can only encourage this act of supervision of little people, you need to be within arms' reach," Water Safety NZ chief executive Daniel Gerrard said.
The warning signs that were only put up on Friday were something locals had wanted for years.
Some locals had taken matters into their own hands by making homemade signs.
"We've just decided to come and sit down here and tell people what's happened and warn them so this doesn't happen to anyone else, we couldn't bear it," Gladding said.
The Rees River, which feeds into Lake Wakatipu, is mountainous with a steep gradient.
Locals said the riverbed drops significantly.
"This is a river delta so the river changes a lot and we've got a major hazard here now with a serious undertow," Gladding said.
Water Safety New Zealand said assessing the environment and asking locals is vital.
"Whether you're rock fishing or launching a boat or crossing a bar or just going for a surf or a swim, local knowledge is what's key," Gerrard said.
At Opoutere Beach, a rahui remains in place as the search for a 15-year-old boy moves into its third day.
His father drowned, but five others were rescued after getting into trouble at Opoutere Beach.
This summer 19 people have already drowned and Gerrard's safety message for New Zealanders is "if in doubt just stay out."