A tramper has been rescued after setting off the emergency locator beacon his mother insisted he carry.

The 21-year-old Auckland man developed symptoms of hypothermia after falling in a river near Nelson.

The beacon signal was received by the Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand at 3.45pm today.

A helicopter from Garden City Helicopters, with a paramedic onboard, was directed to Granity Pass Hutt near Mt Owen, and the man and his companion were picked up at approximately 5.15pm and were flown to Nelson.

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He told rescuers his mother had insisted he buy the beacon. It was the first major trip he had taken since buying it.