A man says he heard "an almighty crack" as he seriously injured his neck while attempting a somersault on a giant inflatable pillow during a Labour Weekend holiday gone wrong.

Tauranga truck driver Richard Mackie, 45, had been camping with friends and family at the Waihi Beach Top 10 Holiday Park when the accident occurred on the inflatable pillow - similar to the base of a bouncy castle - about 3pm on Saturday.

His three daughters were at the beach taking part in a treasure hunt while Mr Mackie said he was showing a couple of teenage boys at the park his gymnastic skills.

"I was just showing some other fellas how to do flips ... I don't actually remember landing, I just remember an almighty crack and then I couldn't breathe.


"I got the first somersault right, but [the second] just didn't go too well, it ended up being a kind of an on-your-back flip - I landed right on my head.

"You normally try these things when you've had a few, but I hadn't even actually had anything," he said.

Although he managed to stand following the accident, Mr Mackie said he soon realised the seriousness of what occurred.

"I just crawled around on the ground for a bit and sort of stood up and thought 'oh yeah, I can walk this off' but it kind of felt like my head was about to fall off my shoulders."

He said he was then instructed to lie back down on a flat deck by an ambulance paramedic, whom his family had fortunately been travelling with.

He was later airlifted to Middlemore Hospital by rescue helicopter.

An x-ray had not identified any obvious breakages or fractures and an MRI scan was to come.