A cold and hungry 15-year-old boy was pulled from the bush near Ōtaki on Sunday night.
The Waikanae teenager had set out alone from Reikiorangi to walk the Pukeatua Track to Ōtaki, but had become distressed in failing to reach his destination.
Horowhenua Search and Rescue operations manager Warwick Price said the alarm was raised shortly before dark on Sunday night.
The boy was found safe and well along a section of the track about 8pm by members of Search and Rescue, and was home with family by 10pm.
Price said the boy was alone, was poorly clothed and cold, had no food or water, and his cellphone had gone flat.
"He didn't do things well. He was given a stern talking to by the policewoman in charge," he said.
Price said the message for anyone planning to enter the bush was "preparation, preparation, preparation".
Locator beacons, radios, and cellphones - all with ample battery - increase the likelihood of a successful rescue should someone get lost, as were logbook entries.
The rescue came just days after Horowhenua Search and Rescue had held a refresher training exercise in Levin, simulating a scenario that was not unlike last night's rescue.
Trainee pilots from the New Zealand Defence Force were involved in the exercise, using an NH90 helicopter to drop Search and Rescue members in the Tararua Ranges
Price said the training was held in testing conditions. It was dark, cold and wet, when rescue personnel were winched down into bush.
The exercise used a mock scenario of a father and son from Taranaki who had entered the Mangahao near Shannon.
The pair had walked the Girdlestone Saddle and had filled out logbooks at huts along the way, but went "missing" some time after reaching the North Ōhau Hutt.
"They had to figure out where they were," he said.
The pair were eventually "found" near the gable end of the Te Matawai Hutt Ridge. The father had twisted his ankle and was immobile.
Price said 10 members of Search and Rescue were dropped into the bush from the helicopter, while six were used in the exercise at home base at Tiro Tiro Rd.
"It was a good experience to be inserted in the dark and winched in some instances," he said.
"It's a chance to put all that training into practice. Some have been on staff for quite a while now so it was a refresher them, and a good training opportunity for others."
Price said to become a member of Horowhenua Search and Rescue required commitment, but was not limited to people with bush experience. Anyone with computer skills could become valued members of the operations centre.