A 10-year-old boy flown to Starship Hospital yesterday after injuring himself on a hammock is in a serious condition.

The boy is understood to have been playing with a hammock suspended from a chain when the suspected accidental hanging occurred at a home in Mangawhai Heads.

A Starship Hospital spokesman confirmed the boy's condition was stable, and earlier reports of a critical condition by emergency services were incorrect. Emergency services, including a Northland Emergency Services Trust rescue helicopter, were called to Heather St in the coastal town about 10am yesterday.

A family renting a home nearby said they heard a woman screaming around the same time.

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Police said it was initially thought the boy was playing on a swing when the accident occurred, but was later established that a swing was not involved.

"A piece of chain which attaches to a hammock was next to the swing and the boy was playing a game with this.

"We are doing everything we can to assist the boy's family during this difficult time."

Police yesterday removed the piece of chain, which was hanging from the front balcony of the two-storey home.

Neighbour Grant Salmon told the Herald the boy had lived in the rental property with his family for two or three months.

He said he heard children playing this morning and emergency services were focused around the driveway area when they arrived at the home.

They worked on him for about an hour before he was taken to the helicopter, Mr Salmon said.

"The house is rented and we don't know the people but they just come and go, it's just tragic that something like this could happen.

"It's a tragic accident. Kids will be kids and they get up to all sorts of mischief, but you never want to see something like that happen."