Emergency services raced against time to rescue an injured man who fell down a steep bank in rugged North Taranaki bush.

The 54-year-old broke his arm and leg after he fell 10m down a vertical bank while walking the Moki Track in Tahora on Wednesday afternoon.

A walking mate then walked about 10km to seek help, and a search and rescue operation co-ordinated by police involving the Taranaki Community Rescue Helicopter, St John, Alpine Cliff Rescue team and LandSAR volunteers was launched was launched at about 4.30pm.

Helicopter general manager Andy Cronin said because the accident happened in steep, rugged terrain it was a challenging rescue.


"Because he was down in a gorge under a tree canopy ... he was very hard to spot, impossible."

He said without the efforts of the injured tramper's mate, finding him would have been that much harder.

"I'm not sure exactly how long that track is, something like 15km, [we] would have had to have people walking the whole length calling out to him.

"His friend has done an outstanding job, walked nearly 10km back to the road end to a residential address and raised the alarm."

Cronin said with his guidance they were able to locate the injured man.

"We ended up winching the friend and a St John medic down into a clearing so they could walk back along the track."

The medic was able to move the patient to a clearing near the top of the Waitara River.

Bad weather and heavy rain threatened to bring an end to the rescue operation, just before the helicopter was able to get the man out.

It managed to hover long enough to lift the injured tramper 30 metres to safety.

The man was transported to Taranaki Base Hospital for medical treatment.

Cronin said he'd come back from visiting the man in Taranaki Base Hospital.

"He's in good spirits and has realised just how lucky he is."