A group of paddlers had a lucky escape after their canoe was smashed on rocks near the entrance to Tutukaka Harbour.

A post on the Coastguard Northern Region's Facebook page said at about 9.30am on Saturday its operations centre was informed by the police search and rescue team that two outrigger canoes had broken up near Tutukaka Harbour and 10 people were in the water.

The Operations Centre paged Tutukaka Rescue and broadcast a distress relay on local VHF channels. It was heard by a nearby boatie who offered to assist.

Coastguard said a nearby boat got to the people first and pulled four of the people out of the water. Two managed to swim ashore.


The Tutukaka Rescue vessel arrived on the scene shortly after and pulled the remaining crew members from the water.

It was discovered there had actually been 11 people in the water, not the 10 originally reported.

The coastguard said thankfully all had been wearing lifejackets.

An ambulance met the crew and their rescuers at the Whangarei Deep Sea Anglers Club in Tutukaka. The club had opened their doors to allow those who had been plucked from the water to be treated.

The coastguard said some of the crew appeared to be suffering hypothermia and had lacerations.

"While the waka are both still on the rocks, everyone is now back on shore safe and sound - a big thanks for the huge community teamwork. A great result," coastguard reported on Facebook.

The Northern Advocate tried to contact a member of the Waka Ama Club, who did not respond by deadline.