A hunter involved in a dramatic rescue is pleading with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to take mercy on a helicopter pilot who saved his life.
Kaikoura pilot Dave Armstrong is facing possible jail time after flying while suspended.
He took over the controls after his junior pilot failed to manoeuvre the chopper into a remote area of dense bush where severely injured hunter Scott Lee was trapped.
Mr Lee says his rescuer shouldn't be punished.
"No doubt it was a hard, ethical decision for him to make, but I owe my life to him Dave and he's my hero."
Mr Lee has written to the CAA urging it to drop the charges against Mr Armstrong who is due in court next week.