A man was rescued after falling off the back of a ute while hunting near Lake Tarawera today.

The Tauranga-based Trustpower TECT Rescue Helicopter flew the man to Auckland's Middlemore hospital with serious spinal injuries.

The 42-year-old Whakatane man had been hunting in a nearly forest when he fell off the back of the ute around 1am.

This was the fourth mission for the Tauranga rescue helicopter since midday yesterday.

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The first call was a maternity transfer from Tauranga Hospital to Waikato Hospital, followed by medical pick ups from Waihi Beach and Whangamata, both patients were flown to Waikato Hospital for treatment.