A hunter has serious spinal injuries after falling from the back of a ute near Lake Tarawera.

The Tauranga-based Trustpower TECT Rescue Helicopter was dispatched to the lake about 1am today where a 42-year-old Whakatane man had fallen from the back of a ute while hunting in a nearby forest.

He sustained serious spinal injuries as result of the fall. He was stabilised at the scene by Whakatane-based St John medics before the decision was made to fly him directly to Auckland's Middlemore Hospital because of the serious nature of his injury.

This was the fourth mission for the Tauranga rescue helicopter since midday on Thursday.

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The first call was a maternity transfer from Tauranga Hospital to Waikato Hospital, followed by medical pick ups from Waihi Beach and Whangamata, both patients were flown to Waikato Hospital for treatment.