A Hawke's Bay farmer has been left shaken and battered after a bull attack at his Puketitiri property.

Farmer Robert Pattullo was moving 25 bulls on his 930 hectare bull finishing farm, Newstead, on Thursday morning with four working dogs when one of the bulls charged.

"It was a nice relaxing morning, the mob is regularly shifted in the area, which they knew," he said.

"The most unexpected, random thing happened. A bull just came out of the mob for no reason at all."


He knew something was up before the attack and had just disembarked from his quad bike when the 650kg bull charged knocking it over.

"After that I realised I was going to be next, I probably ran.

"The bull circled past the overturned quad bike and hunted me down, gored me into the ground a couple of times before I was able to get back to the safety of the quad bike."

Both him and the bull were circling it; his helmet which had saved him from serious head injury was hanging by a strap, blood was pouring from his head and he had no movement in his right arm.

"It was out to get me.

"We have been wearing quad helmets for quite some time but probably never imagined that a helmet would be put to the use it was.

"It was ripped off in the attack and smashed up a fair bit but I was very grateful to be wearing it."

Eventually, the bull backed away but by then Mr Pattullo had head and chest injuries and his quad bike was wrecked.


He had lost his cellphone in the attack, and it would probably have been of little use because of marginal reception.

"Thankfully we made the decision before Christmas to have personal locator beacons for the team.

"I never thought I would need it, definitely not this soon."

He pressed the button and immediately felt reassured know help was on it's way.

Within minutes its signal was received at the Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) in Lower Hutt.

Search and Rescue officer Chris Wilson said she received the signal at RCCNZ just after 8am, and as is standard practice, a Hawke's Bay Rescue Helicopter Trust (HBRHT) helicopter with two paramedics on board lifted off from Hastings at 8:48am.

Robert Pattullo on the farm with his dogs. Photo / Paul Taylor
Robert Pattullo on the farm with his dogs. Photo / Paul Taylor

Mr Pattullo is also a trustee of HBRHT which flies the Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter.

"I never thought I would benefit from this amazing service myself, you just never know," he said.

Pilot Jeremy Bruce said he noticed the bulls as he landed but did not think anything of them as he assumed Mr Pattullo had been hurt in a quad bike accident.

One of the bulls started roaring, stamping and acting aggressively towards the helicopter and paramedics who quickly got the farmer on board.

Mr Pattullo was worried that his dogs would be killed by the bulls so they were loaded one by one into the back of the helicopter and transported to the woolshed with two paramedics, Mr Bruce and a flight-crew member.

"They said 'we'll pop them in the back and take them home for you,' that was fantastic," the farmer said.

"Getting my farm working dogs in the helicopter as well and home safely exemplified the dedication of the crew."

He was whizzed on a five-minute flight to Hawke's Bay Regional Hospital for treatment and was discharged that evening.

Thankfully there was nothing major, lots of surface wounds, lacerations to his head, serious bruising on his right arm and a "banged-up" mouth but no missing teeth, he said.

"It's going to be a slow recovery."

He hoped, in a week's time, he would be starting to feel normal again.

Someone at the hospital had said it would feel like he had been run over by a bus.

"Well I've been run over by a bull and it feels like it," Mr Pattullo said.

Luckily he was heading into the quiet time of year but he had moved a couple of mobs on Friday morning mainly so his dogs could get out and he could get back into it.

The offending bull would have to be put down in the next week.

"We can't tale the risk of having another mishap with him.

"This is as bad as it gets, totally unexpected and random from a single bull in a mob that gets shifted regularly."

Mr Pattullo said he was feeling a bit shaken but enjoyed working with bulls and had been working with them for 20 years with no problems.

He was indebted for his personal locator beacon which cost just over $300 and said everyone should have one including farmers, trampers and motorists.

"Having the bull continue to circle me around the quad bike was very unnerving but I was reassured...that the Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter would be coming to my assistance shortly.

"I can't thank the crew of the Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter enough.

"I was pretty badly banged up when they arrived, but they settled me down and made me comfortable for the journey to the Hawke's Bay Hospital."