Key Points:

A Gisborne woman is dead after being crushed by a boulder.

The boulder rolled onto the woman, aged in her mid-fifties, while she was tramping with three companions in a forest near Mount Hikurangi on the east coast near Ruatoria yesterday.

Police say her tramping companions were able to lift the boulder off her, but found she had died.

They set off an emergency locator beacon, but because of poor visibility a rescue helicopter could not get to them last night.

A chopper was able to reach them this morning and airlift them out of the area.

Police are still in the process of advising the next of kin.