Guests at a remote Pelorus Sound lodge kayaked frantically across a bay to raise the alarm after their friend was injured on wet rocks.
The 51-year-old woman slipped and injured her arm or wrist while gathering mussels near Nydia Bay.
Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter pilot Tim Douglas-Clifford airlifted the woman at 11.45am to Blenheim's Wairau Hospital.
"She was in a lot of pain, but conscious," Mr Douglas-Clifford said. Two friends kayaked one kilometre to alert staff at On The Track Lodge, where the woman had been staying.
Lodge operator Tom Francis said the woman was stretchered to a DOC lodge from where the helicopter picked her up.
"She was very shaky and feeling nauseous and not very good at all, I'm pleased I didn't try get her back on the boat."
"She was meant to stay here for three days then this happened, such a shame. The sea was calm as a millpond."