A Bay of Plenty fisherman has pulled a baby from the water at Matata beach, saving his life.
Gus Hutt was fishing last Wednesday morning when he noticed a small figure floating past in the water.
He said he initially thought it was a doll.
"It had a real porcelain face and all that sort of thing, eyes were closed and then all of a sudden it gave a little squeak and I thought 'oh my God, it's a baby'," said Mr Hutt.
- More awareness could prevent drownings in New Zealand - expert
- Swim events at risk as lifesavers shun Auckland's dirty beaches
Usually the fisherman heads straight from the camp to the beach to cast his lines, but on this particular morning he decided to walk up the beach, a lucky move for the baby.
When he returned to check his lines at 7:15 is when Mr Hutt saw the boy in the water.
"He wouldn't have been in the water for very long. I think he went in about 10 metres up stream from my rod.
"All the stars lined up for him. It wasn't his time. It just wasn't his time."
The boy had escaped from his parents' tent at Murphy's Holiday Camp by undoing the zipper, and then made his way down to the ocean.
Emergency services treated the boy for 15 minutes before he was taken by an ambulance to Whakatane Hospital.
Mr Hutt alerted his wife, Sue, to the incident and after asking at the camp reception she tracked down the tent where the parents were.
"My wife went out there and shook the tent and said 'wake up, wake up'."
"She said 'have you got a baby?' and they said yes, and she said 'is it in there with you now?' and they said 'no,' 'well,' she said 'my husband's just pulled him out of the water'."
The parents stopped by to say thank you to Mr Hutt and his wife, and the baby boy was back to his lively self.
"You wouldn't have thought anything had happened to the child, he was right as rain," Mr Hutt said.