A group of nine rafters who ran into serious trouble in the Hutt River north of Wellington on Saturday night have been reunited.
The group got into trouble in the Kaitoke Regional Park last night. One person managed to raise the alarm with police just before 9pm.
Six of the rafters were winched to safety by helicopter in the dark, but another two couldn't be found. Just as the search resumed this morning, the man and woman emerged from the park, safe and well.
Constable Dave Nichols says it's a fortunate result.
"They have spent the night in the bush, a bit wet and uncomfortable and then walked out this morning," he told Newshub.
"Obviously it's a great result, everyone is out alive and relatively unhurt."
The pair were reunited with the rest of the group at the campground where they had been staying. The group said they were all feeling relieved but embarrassed after their experience.
The Hutt River looks calm and pristine in parts, but can be dangerous. It's not clear exactly what kinds of rafts the group used.
"I believe they had a number of rafts," Mr Nichols says.
"I believe it was maybe one each and a blown up tyre."
One of the reasons the rafters got into trouble was that the river was so low, the rafts were bumping along the rocks and getting stuck.
Official advice in the area is to start your trip in the morning because it can take up to six hours to reach the only two exits along the Hutt River.
Other campers said the group didn't leave until mid-afternoon, so when night fell they only had one way out - by air.