A father and son did "everything wrong" when they underestimated the time and distance of a 60km trip down a Hawkes Bay river at the weekend.

A 48-year-old local man and his 16-year-old son were rescued from the Tutaekuri River about 4.30pm yesterday after failing to return 24-hours after they intended.

Hastings police Senior Sergeant Luke Shadbolt said the pair were picked up by the Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter after travelling just 5km of their intended route and spending a night roughing it under the stars.

"They were incredibly under prepared, inexperienced and did everything wrong," he said.


The duo were dropped off by family at the Lawrence Shelter of the Napier-Taihape Rd at about 2.30pm on Saturday and planned to kayak down the Tutaekuri River to the Brookfield Rd overbridge near Meeanee in Napier.

"They believed this trip would take about 5 to 7 hours - they have significantly underestimated the time and distance it would take for this kayak trip.

"They were located near the Maungatutu end, having travelled about 5km in 24 hours. The planned trip was about 60km long on the river which has a low water flow at this time of year and is not normally suitable for this type of kayak trip.

"With their speed of travel it would have taken about five days to cover the distance they intended and that would have involved a lot of walking."

Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter Trust Spokeswoman Louise Harvey said the two men were flown back to Hawke's Bay Hospital rescue helicopter base.

The pair were not injured but "very tired and hungry" when located yesterday, Mr Shadbolt said.

"It wasn't cold, but they had an uncomfortable and unpleasant night out under the stars."

The pair wore light clothing and were poorly equipped to stay out overnight.


They were wearing life jackets but had no means of emergency communication.

A cellphone they took with them was "useless" as the area had no coverage.