A man is fighting for his life after getting an electric shock from powerlines while working at a forestry site near Rotorua.

The man, who is in his 40s, was using machinery in a forestry area at Tikitere, off Cookson Rd, east of Rotorua when he hit powerlines in the area about 11.25am on Wednesday.

The incident cut power to the area.

Fire, ambulance and police were called to the incident and WorkSafe is now investigating.

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A police media spokesman said a man had hit powerlines while working in the forestry area and had suffered critical injuries from an electric shock.

He said a rescue helicopter was initially called to airlift the man to hospital but it was "not available" so he was instead transported by ambulance.

A St John Ambulance spokeswoman said there could be several reasons a rescue helicopter was not sent and she was unsure what they were.

She said two ambulances were sent immediately to the area and arrived at the scene at 11.46am, left the site at 12.07pm and arrived at Rotorua Hospital by 12.26pm.

WorkSafe senior media advisor Nicky Barton said they had been notified of an incident at a forestry site near Tikitere.

"We are making inquiries into the incident. It is understood that the worker may have sustained an electric shock."

Unison communications spokesman Danny Gough said power was cut to 27 customers in the area of Hawthornden Dr, off Cookson Rd.

He said all but three of the customers had their power restored within minutes but three customers in the immediate vicinity of the site were still without power yesterday afternoon as investigators in the area were still working on the site.

It was expected those customers would have their power restored by evening.

"We were informed of the incident and we will work with WorkSafe now in their investigation. Our thoughts first and foremost go out to the man, his colleagues, friends and his family. We are not sure how it happened and how he managed to do it but it's terrible."

A man who operates a business in the area where the incident happened said he had heard about the accident.

He said he wasn't sure how it happened but understood the machinery the man was working on was having repairs done to it.

He wasn't sure if the man hurt was a forestry contractor or someone trying to fix the machinery.

He said it was sad news for the man and his family and he hoped he recovered quickly.

"The important thing is he's in good hands now and we hope he gets looked after well."

The BayTrust Rescue Helicopter in Rotorua stopped operating in November. Rescue helicopters in Tauranga, Waikato and Taupō now service the area.