An 11-year-old boy who was dragged 30m along a gravel road by a rural school bus has been called "a brave little man''.

The boy suffered minor scrapes and bruises after his bag got caught in the bus door at Huiakama School in the small rural settlement of Te Wera, about 35km northeast of Stratford in Taranaki about 9.15am.

He was airlifted to Taranaki Base Hospital as a precaution.

Taranaki rescue helicopter chief crewman Jayden Strickland said the boy was dragged about 20-30 metres down a gravel side road at the entrance to the school, where he had just been dropped off.

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"He was just dragged by his school bag in the bus, which had a manual closing door. They rely on the children closing the door by themselves,'' he told APNZ.

"Apparently the back of his bag was caught in the door, and the driver hadn't noticed it.''

It was not yet clear whether the boy managed to remove his bag or whether the bus stopped.

Mr Strickland said the boy suffered minor to moderate gravel rash across his body, with most of the injuries on his buttocks.

"It would be sore, but he was a brave little man. No crying at all, and fully conscious and talking to us about the whole situation.''

He and his mother had been quite calm.

Mr Strickland said he was glad the incident was not more serious.

"It could have gone both ways, you never know.''

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The boy attends the year one-eight Huiakama School, which has 10 pupils.

Principal Vivienne Wallace did not see the accident and had few details about it.

However, the other children did not seem to have been affected, she said.

"They don't seem to even have noticed.''