Yesterday's atrocious weather meant a rescue team had to venture into Te Urewera National Park on foot to retrieve a hunter who had been bitten by a spider.

The hunter, a 28-year-old Waikato man, had been bitten by what was believed to be a whitetail spider the previous day.

One of his legs swelled up overnight after he made it to Ngahiramai Hut, down the Whakatane River.

Police said it was fortunate others staying at the hut had had the presence of mind to take a mountain radio with them, otherwise it would have taken a tramp of three or more hours to raise the alarm.


Emergency services were contacted about 12.30pm yesterday and a police search and rescue team and a paramedic set off from Ruatahuna a few hours later, walking the 11km to the hut.

Late in the afternoon, when it became clear that the weather was not going to improve, a helicopter based at Murupara was tasked with attempting to fly into the area and retrieve the man.

This proved successful and he was delivered to an ambulance at Murupara and taken to hospital.

"It is heartening to be involved in an incident where those involved have done all the right things and made the job of emergency services easier,'' police said in a statement.

"However, this also highlights that even with all the technology we have available to help us, sometimes mother nature calls the shots. Given the weather expected over the next few days anyone thinking of going into the outdoors needs to go prepared for any eventuality.''