An elderly man was saved by fellow wedding guests after choking on his dinner, collapsing to the floor and losing his pulse.

The Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter was sent to Cooks Beach, near Whitianga, after the man struggled to swallow his meal about 8.20pm on Saturday.

It is believed the man, in his 80s, choked during the reception dinner at the Cooks Beach Community Hall, where the Coromandel wedding was being held.

Witnesses said he was eating and collapsed in his chair, before he was laid on the floor after his pulse couldn't be found.

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A man was airlifted to hospital in a serious condition after choking on his meal. Photo / File
A man was airlifted to hospital in a serious condition after choking on his meal. Photo / File

The helicopter rescue crew landed at a nearby reserve as CPR was being performed on the man by fellow guests.

"Bystanders had done a great job," said intensive care paramedic Marcel Driessen, who attended the incident.

"They had performed CPR, managed to dislodge the food, and saved his life."

The man was initially in a critical condition, but paramedics were able to revive and stabilise him before flying him, and his wife, to Waikato Hospital.