A young woman has been rescued from the Waikato River early this morning.

Members of the public were praised by police for helping to save the teenager's life, after screams were heard coming from the river at River Rd, Fairfield, in Hamilton around 1am.

A 17-year-old girl was discovered by police around 10 metres from shore in "obvious distress", Inspector Tony Wakelin said.

One officer waded into the water and swam out to the teen to rescue her as she was going under the water.

Advertisement

He swam her back to the bank, and along with three other officers managed to get her back onto dry land.

A team of firefighters was required to stretcher her from the bank to an ambulance, Mr Wakelin said.

"At this point in time the circumstances of why or how she came to be in the water is not known," he said.

"However, it is clear that the actions of the member of public in calling us and the attending police staff have saved this young woman's life".

She was taken to Waikato Hospital in a serious but stable condition.