A woman and her newborn baby were rushed to hospital by helicopter after she unexpectedly gave birth prematurely today.

The 28-year-old Whakatane woman started having sudden contractions so her partner took her to the medical centre at Te Kaha, near Opotiki.

She gave birth to a boy shortly after their arrival.

The Trustpower TECT Rescue Helicopter was dispatched to rush them to Whakatane Hospital.

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Mother and baby were admitted to the hospital for observation.

The rescue helicopter service said both were doing well.