A UK tourist diving with friends in New Zealand days before her wedding was rescued unresponsive from the bottom of the sea yesterday.

The 49-year-old was diving with friends off Mercury Island yesterday afternoon when one of them noticed the woman struggling.

Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter spokeswoman Kerrie Spicer said the dive master retrieved the woman, who was unconscious on the sea floor.

A helicopter was sent at about 4pm, but her friends saved the woman -- who is due to marry in New Zealand on Friday -- giving her CPR in the water.

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"She was given CPR in the water for about five minutes and she started breathing again and was already talking by the time the helicopter arrived," said Mrs Spicer.

The woman was flown to Auckland City Hospital, but the helicopter had to fly lower than usual to avoid altitude-related complications after a diving accident.

She is in a stable condition today, said an Auckland District Health Board spokeswoman.