Video: Hawke's Bay orchard workers stranded on roof capture astonishing rescue operation

Spectacular footage has emerged of the moment a group of Hawke's Bay orchard workers were rescued from the roof of their home by helicopter on Tuesday. 

Twelve men, employees at Johnny Appleseed orchard in Pakowhai, sat on the roof of their accommodation for four hours as Cyclone Gabrielle lashed the region, and flood waters rapidly rose.

Supervisor at Johnny Appleseed Fola Samoa told RNZ he and his co-workers were eating breakfast before flood waters took over their home.

"One of the men came to me and said 'boss, there's a river come through to our house'."

Samoa walked through the front door and said he was "shocked, because our driveway was like a river".

He told RNZ it was "like a tsunami" and reminded the group of the destructive tsunami that devastated Samoa in 2009.

The group attempted to pack essentials into a van in a bid to escape the rising floods, but Samoa told RNZ it was too late and instead the group took shelter on their roof.

The incredible video shows the group of men sitting on the roof while a rescue helicopter navigates how it'll land. 

The rescue helicopter lightly lands, teetering on the ridge of the roof as a Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) staff member begins to usher some of the men into the cockpit. 

As the men climb into the cockpit, dark brown muddy floodwater can be seen almost at the height of the roof. 

The men clearly relieved to have been rescued after four hours on the roof. One man can be heard laughing and seen waving at his co-workers who were still to be rescued. 

After a short flight over homes submerged in dark, muddy floodwaters, the rescue helicopter lands on drier ground, and the men were taken to an ambulance. 

Watch the full rescue operation above.