Who are you going to call...? Carterton's Amalgamated Helicopters, it seems, after they pulled off their second life-saving rescue in a week.

Only days after crewman Jamie Hansen dragged an injured tramper to a hovering helicopter, the team rescued a starving and exhausted American mother and daughter who had been lost for four nights.

Carolyn Lloyd and her daughter Rachel, 22, had strayed from the path on what was supposed to be a one-day hike in the Tararua Ranges near Waikanae on Tuesday.

They were picked up on Saturday by Amalgamated Helicopters after Jason Diedrichs spotted the word "help" spelt out on a river bed with rocks, punga ferns and sticks. The women, who had also made another sign in a bush clearing, were nearby waving their arms.


"It's fair to say they were pretty pleased to see us," said Mr Diedrichs. "They were a little bit worse for wear, they'd been in there for four nights out in the open with very little food so they were definitely feeling the effects of that."

He managed to land the helicopter nearby and flew the grateful women out of the bush to waiting paramedics.

Earlier in the week Mr Diedrichs and his crewman Mr Hansen located hunter Don Stevens, who had broken his leg but dragged himself to a location where he could be picked up.

Unable to land, the helicopter hovered while Mr Hansen hauled Mr Stevens' 90kg frame into the helicopter. He described it later on social media as one of his more challenging rescues.

"He was a happy man once we were heading out.

"The bigger helicopters have their place. Knowing the hills was the difference, just glad we could help out."

Mr Stevens later thanked his rescuers via the Wairarapa Times-Age in an interview from his hospital bed, saying they did an "absolutely amazing job".

Wairarapa Facebook posters have heaped praise on the crew.

"Well done, Jas, you are a legend!" said Bridget Gane. Jason Pye posted people might as well call the local helicopter firm before anyone else.

"How many times has JD [Diedrichs] been called up when the going gets tricky?" asked Roger Barton.

Mrs Lloyd's brother John Schumacher expressed his "tear-filled gratitude" to the helicopter team, as well as "the amazing police staff, search team members, dog guides, volunteers and news teams who kept us informed and everyone else involved who worked so quickly and effectively to find -- and save -- my sister and niece.

"What a testament the wonderful citizens of New Zealand are to the rest of the world, of how people can work together to accomplish such noble deeds. Thank God, and thank you all."