A North Island farmer is on the mend after being flung more than 3m into the air by a rampaging steer.

Speaking for the first time since his ordeal, Rob Collier is up and about and thankful his injuries weren't worse.

The 57-year-old farmer was loading meatworks-bound cattle on to a truck at his farm near Taihape on Wednesday morning when, out of the herd of 50, a steer charged into him.

Mr Collier was hoisted high over a 2m railing.


"I landed on my head on the other side of the concrete. It was quite a thump," he said from Palmerston North Hospital yesterday.

"I was working with a truck driver. He called for help."

Mr Collier was knocked out and can recall only snippets of events.

"I remember holding my head up in a kind of sitting position. I can remember the ambulance turning up.

"There were voices coming around me. We had a contractor who helped carry me into the ambulance."

A couple of mates also turned up and helped load him into the rescue helicopter which got him to hospital in 12 minutes.

Mr Collier has a broken neck, the C2 vertebra, but his spine is intact.

He also has a broken arm and missing and damaged front teeth, but isn't feeling too down about his injuries.

"I've got all feeling everywhere in the right places.

"I'm not in any pain. I'm in a head harness, which is attached around your shoulders with metal brackets and it holds your head in place."

He spent two days in intensive care but knew he had feeling in his hands and feet and was up and about quickly.

"On the third day I decided to get up and I walked out of the ICU to see [my visitors]."

"It's quite a good family reunion really. Everyone's been brilliant. You really appreciate people when you get into situations."

Mr Collier thanked hospital staff, paramedics and everyone else who helped him through the worst injury he'd had in his years of farming.

He'll be home tomorrow.

"There's worse stories than me," he said.

"I'm just feeling incredibly lucky. Every day's a good day. The sun's shining. I feel pretty lucky to have come out of it."