A 22-year-old man has serious burns to his face and shoulders after a water pump exploded on a Wairarapa property this afternoon.

An ambulance was called to the property in Eketahuna, 36 kilometres north of Masterton, at about 2.30pm after a water pump exploded, an ambulance spokeswoman said.

It was initially reported to be a petrol pump explosion so the Fire Service was also called, but when they got to the property it turned out to be a water pump, she said.

The man was airlifted to Hutt Hospital in a serious condition with burns to his face and shoulders.

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It is not known what caused the explosion.