Footage shows dramatic rescue as Canterbury farmer airlifted to safety from floods

Dramatic footage shows a Canterbury farmer being rescued after becoming trapped amid heavy flooding across the South Island.

The video posted by the Hoops on Air radio station Facebook page on Sunday shows a helicopter hovering over the flooded river before an individual clings onboard.

Facebook users commended the pilot for his skills in such disastrous conditions.

"I am blown away! Incredible skills and concentration in dealing with those conditions. Definitely medals for both the pilot and crew member. Wow! Just so glad everyone is safe," one person commented.

"Wow, that's amazing, he is one lucky man," another wrote.

The Canterbury region is facing its most significant rainfall in 10 years.

The widespread flooding on Sunday has forced Timaru, Ashburton and Selwyn to declare a state of emergency.

More than 550 homes in Christchurch are without power, and another 700 are experiencing outages throughout wider central Canterbury.

Canterbury Police are urging the public to stay home and avoid "putting themselves at serious risk".

"We are aware a number of people have been leaving their homes to check out the flooding, putting themselves at serious risk," Canterbury Police posted on Facebook.

"Police urge everyone in the affected areas to stay home, hunker down and wait for the weather to pass if they don't absolutely need to go outside."