A mother and her sons are being treated for hypothermia after a "miserable night" in cold, wet conditions in the Tararua Range.
The woman and her boys, aged 10 and 12, had been walking on the Omega Track, in the mountains between the Wellington and Wairarapa regions, when they activated a personal locator beacon at 6.30pm yesterday.
The Rescue Coordination Centre (RCCNZ) was able to reach the mother on cellphone.
Rescuers learned the boys had become cold and exhausted on the walk from Kaitoke to Alpha Hut on what was intended to be a four-day tramp.
RCCNZ search and rescue mission coordinator John Ashby said strong winds and torrential rain in the area meant neither the Westpac Rescue helicopter, nor police land search and rescuers were able to reach the trio.
The family spent the night in cold and wet conditions but have now been rescued.
"They have had a cold wait in very uncomfortable, wet conditions but they had sufficient equipment for a four-day tramp and that has helped them get through the night," Ashby said.
"Without an emergency locator beacon to call for help, this would have been an extremely challenging situation for them."
RCCNZ spokesman Steve Rendle said the weather conditions had been "pretty terrible".
"They've had a pretty miserable night but they are now safe and back in warmer conditions."
The family was not at a hut so they would have been out in the open, Rendle said.
They had been picked up by a crew from Wairarapa-based Amalgamated Helicopters, who know the area well.
The crew dropped them off at Tutuwai Hut, further down the track, where they were picked up by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.
They were then transferred to an ambulance waiting in Kaitoke.
Rendle said they were taken to the hospital at Trentham Army Base to be checked over. They were uninjured but two had mild hypothermia and one had moderate hypothermia.