Three women have been hailed "angels" after saving the life of a father-of-eight who collapsed in South Auckland.
Michael Vaiking, 51, was on his lunch break near the Papakura Selwyn Centre when he suffered a life-threatening seizure and collapsed in the arcade on Monday afternoon.
"I could feel my whole body starting to freeze up on me, so I rang my boss, Brent Mako, to come get me.
"From there I went into a massive asthma attack and lost consciousness," Vaiking said.
Alice Te Hira, from Crossfit Takanini, was alerted to the incident by a customer and didn't hesitate to jump in and help.
"I found Brent on the phone and Michael slumped over the garden. I knew straight away something was wrong with him medically," she said.
"I immediately thought he'd had an epileptic fit because my brother used to have them, and he had blood coming from his mouth from where he had bitten his tongue.
"But he'd also seized up on one side of his body, which made it look like he'd had a stroke,.
"The first thing I thought was grab the defibrillator from the gym and get him into the recovery position. That's when the women from the dental clinic came out."
Te Hira was joined by Nicky Mika and Jomy Mathews, from Dental World Papakura, and together the three "angels" and Brent worked to save Vaiking's life.
"Initially I thought he had passed out, so we went to get the oxygen, but when we got to him you could tell by his facial features that it definitely wasn't a faint.
"He was quite distorted in his face, and quite stiff on one side," Mika said.
"We put the defibrillator on him, but it said no shock advised, but because his breathing was so sporadic the lady at St John said to start CPR.
"There was a bit of cracking, and I remember looking at Alice – but it had to be done. Having a broken rib is better than not having your life.
"It felt like forever but it was less than two minutes before the ambulance staff turned up," she said.
Vaiking was taken to Middlemore Hospital, where he spent two days being monitored.
"I woke up in the hospital, with no recollection of what happened. They said I went from an asthma attack, to a seizure, to a cardiac arrest. So I got hit three times," he said.
Vaiking said this wasn't the first time he suffered a similar attack, with the first incident happening over five years ago. He has suffered about five similar attacks in the past two months.
"I've had a few where I was dead on arrival," he said. "They don't know what causes it, but are sending me to see a heart and lung specialist."
While he isn't sure of the cause, Vaiking said the seizures normally start with a chill and a heavy sweat.
"I can't breathe and lose consciousness. It feels like you are being bear hugged, but the grip is getting tighter and tighter.
"Almost like a sumo wrestler sitting on your chest, and you can't break away," he said.
Vaiking said it was only in hospital that he found out about his "angels".
"Brent came to visit me the next morning to see if I was okay, and the look I saw on his face is something I hope I never have to put him through again.
"He made me aware that there were other people who helped, and I didn't know who they were, so I posted to Papakura Spread the News in search of my three angels," he said.
"When they were tagged in the post, I broke down and cried."
On Wednesday the group met so Vaiking could thank them for saving his life.
"To have the three of them there, I was very blessed and happy I am still alive today. I wanted to meet them today to just say thank you," he said.
Meanwhile Mika said it was an honour to be able to help.
"Up until that point my biggest achievement was having my children, but when reality sets in and you know you've saved someone's life that is huge. I am just glad he is okay."