A "very tough" Mid-North woman whose arm was almost amputated when it was caught in machinery on the back of her tractor had to wait more than three hours to be found.

The 59-year-old was working on her lifestyle block on State Highway 10, near Whitehills north of Kerikeri, about 7am yesterday when her arm was trapped in the power take-off shaft she was using to drive a spraying unit.

Unable to move or raise the alarm, she had to wait until a farm worker found her about 10.15am.

The Kerikeri Fire Brigade was first on the scene, followed shortly afterwards by Kaeo.

Firefighters applied first aid and talked to the woman to reassure her until the ambulance arrived.

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Once paramedics were there, the Kerikeri brigade was able to use its cutting equipment to free her, Kaeo deputy fire chief Jo Sweet-Bennett said.

The patient, who had suffered severe arm injuries, was "very tough", she said.

The Northland Rescue Helicopter landed in a nearby paddock and, once the woman had been stabilised, flew her to Whangarei Hospital in a critical condition about 11.45am. Her condition last night was not known.

WorkSafe has been notified of the accident.

A second rescue helicopter was called to Kaeo around the same time to take a heart attack patient to Auckland City Hospital. That patient was also in a critical condition.