Weekend's most read story: 'Darling, we're stuffed' - father and daughter rescued after spending two nights lost at sea

A father and daughter have been left exhausted but relieved after they were found following two rough nights out at sea.

Michael Graham and his daughter were fishing of the coast of Great Barrier Island when their boat lost power. Source: 1 NEWS

"I'm glad. I'm still spinning from being on the water, but just to see the smile on my daughter's face after being back on land, that does it for me," Mr Graham said.

Michael Graham and his 17 year old daughter Tania-Rose lost power to their boat shortly after leaving Great Barrier Island for a fishing competition on Friday night.

"When we lost power to the boat, I knew that was us. I knew straight away I was in trouble," he recalled.

"She thought it was a joke. I said, 'Nah, darling - we're stuffed. We can't ring anybody. After we got no reply from the flares, we anchored up but that didn't work. The stronger the wind got, we just kept getting dragged out and out and out."

The alarm was raised yesterday morning after they failed to return home from the trip.

The pair drifted towards Channel Island in strong winds and rough seas, almost capsizing several times.

"That was the panic point. It was either take the rocks on, or we were almost ready to jump off the boat," he said.

"The waves were just smashing onto the boat. They blew out a couple of windows so water was coming through."

The boat was found by police this morning north of Waiheke just as Mr Graham was about to "pull apart the boat apart to make a raft".

"I was just about to start that and my daughter Tania-Rose goes, 'Look there, dad - a chopper,' and that was us. Two life jackets waving 'here we are'."

Mr Graham and his daughter were towed to Waiheke Island by the Police Maritime Unit, before being transported back to Auckland.