A "cold and shaken" diver has been rescued after drifting 15km out into the Pacific Ocean after he was swept by strong winds and big seas off the Gisborne coastline.
Police say three men, including a father and son, were diving north of Tatapouri, north of Gisborne yesterday morning around 9am.
The trio had tied their kayaks together and anchored them while diving.
But due to the blustery winds, the anchor started dragging and the trio started drifting offshore.
Police said one of the divers was able to get themselves back to land, helped by another person who was in the water, and raise the alarm that his diving mates were in trouble.
An extensive search was sparked by Police Search and Rescue, Coastguard and the Rescue Co-ordination Centre New Zealand.
They encountered atrocious conditions, with strong winds and large swells making it hard to search for the missing divers.
Police said one diver was located by helicopter 500 metres offshore.
The second diver was located 15km offshore by the Coastguard.
Both divers were plucked to safety and brought back to shore by the Coastguard vessel.
Neither men required medical treatment but were cold and shaken.
"This was a fantastic outcome for the family, they were lucky to have been found," said Sergeant Greg Lexmond.
"It is a good reminder however not to dive in bad conditions.
"We talk about driving to the conditions, you also need to dive to the conditions."
He said the men's family were extremely grateful for the help of all those involved in the search.