A group of kayakers rescued a man and child from the Manukau Harbour at Cornwallis on Saturday after the pair spent an hour in the water.
A Westpac Rescue Helicopter spokesman said they were called to Cornwallis on Saturday after reports of two people falling from a boat.
Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter crew chief Mark Cannell, who was on the second of two helicopters to attend the scene, said that three kayaks and the alloy trailer boat the pair had fallen from were at the beach when he arrived.
Cannell said that "lady luck was at play" for the kayakers to come across the pair.
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The child was taken to Starship Children's Hospital in a critical condition and a male adult in his 40s was transported to Auckland Hospital in moderate condition.