An insect has put a nasty end to a German tourist's paddle on the Whanganui River.

The Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter was dispatched to John Coull Hut on the Whanganui River this morning after the tourist, aged in her 20s, suffered a severe allergic reaction to an insect bite.

One of the rescue pilots said it was most probably a bee or wasp sting or bite.

The tourist was with a guided tour group on the river and one of the river guides made contact with emergency services through radio telephone services.

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He said the paramedic on the flight said the patient had suffered an "allergic" reaction but it could have been an anaphylactic shock.

The tourist was from Manheim in Germany.

The patient was stabilised at the scene by the on-board St John Ambulance Intensive Care Paramedic before being airlifted to Whanganui Hospital in a stable condition.

The Rescue Helicopter was used for the mission due to the remote and inaccessible location of the patient.

The John Coull Hut is a 24-bunk shelter located on the Whanganui Journey in the Whanganui area.