Southland Mayor Gary Tong is currently recovering after mistaking a heart attack for a cold.
Tong believed he had caught a bug in late December.
He told Newshub he felt extremely unwell.
"I was quite ill, vomiting and etc," he said.
"However, it appears I had quite a serious heart attack that evening."
Tong said it took him a while to work out that he wasn't getting any better and eventually he visited his General Practitioner (GP).
"When doctors looked at my electrocardiogram (ECG) they said, 'no you're a time bomb'," Tong told Newshub.
In about two hours after speaking to his GP, Tong was in a cardiac ward at Dunedin hospital.
"I just thought I was crook from this nasty bug, but it doesn't appear that there was ever a bug."
Tong said the heart gave out and it was just telling him to rest.
Southland's Mayor is now back home, "feeling great", and is "very thankful" for everyone involved in the process.
And although Tong can't drive for another ten days he's looking forward to getting back to work.
Symptoms of a heart attack include; chest discomfort, nausea, indigestion, heartburn, stomach pain, pain spreading up or down the arm, dizziness or lightheadedness, throat or jaw pain, exhaustion and snoring.