A man trapped in the Urewera Ranges wouldn't have lasted another night, according to the helicopter pilot who rescued him.
The man is believed to have been in the bush for several weeks after becoming trapped by high river levels and ran out of food four days ago.
He eventually managed to cross a river to a small hut where he activated his emergency beacon.
When discovered by the rescue crew yesterday, he was severely hypothermic and in the foetal position, 20 metres from the hut.
Greenlea Rescue Helicopter pilot Nat Every said the man, who was completely disoriented, was lucky to be alive.
"We initially thought he'd broken his leg or was immobilised for some reason but as it transpired he was just extremely cold.
"He'd settled there and that was as far as he was going, he was just physically incapable of making it the last 25 metres to the hut," Every said.
Nat Every said the man, who is about 60, was taken to Taupo Hospital in a stable condition.