A Dutch tramper who had been stranded on Mt Taranaki for two days by heavy snow has been plucked to safety.
An Air Force NH90 helicopter, from the Ohakea-based No 3 Squadron, battled strong winds and a thick layer of cloud to rescue the tramper this morning.
The pilot, Flight Lieutenant Chris Ross, said it took him two attempts to land the chopper and the crew received a warm welcome from the man.
"He was certainly chuffed to see us and he was able to walk to the aircraft on his own. The tracks are covered in ice and heavy snow, so there was no way he could have got out of there on his own.
Ross said the man was "cold and hungry but otherwise fine".
Although the flight meant the crew missed out on part of their long weekend, rescuers were more than happy to help the stranded man.
"It's nice to spend long weekends with family but duty comes first. If there's a successful rescue attempt, it makes it so much more worthwhile," Ross said.
"We gave him a blanket and lollies and turned on the heater as soon as he got on board."
Group Captain Nick Olney, the Acting Air Component Commander, commended the team.
The 29-year-old Dutchman climbed up to Syme Hut on Thursday and spent the night there, but was unable to come back down as planned on Friday due to weather conditions, said Mike Johns, a member of the Taranaki Alpine Cliff Rescue team.
The tourist was not equipped to make his way down in the conditions, so used his cellphone to call for help.
"He was in a good place, had enough food and water," Johns said.
The Royal New Zealand Air Force tweeted about the rescue this morning, saying there would be no long weekend for their crew.
Taranaki Alpine Cliff Rescue group sent a ground team.
A police spokeswoman said search and rescue had been in touch with the tourist regularly, and he was still "safe and well".