A kayaker was rescued from large waves by Coastguard volunteers after capsizing near Tauranga yesterday.
Coastguard Maketu said volunteers were alerted to the man's situation by locals who had seen him capsize near the Maketu Bar southeast of Tauranga.
The man was about 40 metres from his kayak when Coastguard volunteers spotted him trapped in the surf and being "hammered by waves.
"There was no way he could swim to safety, he was in desperate trouble," Coastguard Maketu president Shane Beech said.
The man was pulled from the surf in bad shape - he was extremely cold and had swallowed a lot of water, and was taken to hospital.
Mr Beech said another couple of minutes would have meant the man would probably be dead.