The man who spent an hour and a half with a meat hook impaled in his head eventually pulled the hook out himself.
Ambulance and fire service staff were called to assist a 42-year-old man at the Affco meatworks near Te Puke about 7pm yesterday, a northern ambulance communications spokesman said.
A meat hook from an animal-carcass spreader had become lodged in his head, he said.
The man was part of a cleaning crew working at the meat processing plant, Te Puke Volunteer Fire Brigade station officer Ivon Pilcher told Sunlive.
''He had it impaled through the side of his face and we had to work out a way of getting him off it,'' Pilcher said.
Volunteer firefighters worked for 90 minutes to remove the meat hook from the man's face, he said.
''In the end we actually unbolted the hook arrangement on the chain and managed to get him off with the hook still inside his face.
"The ambulance had numbed him enough that he actually pulled it out himself.''
The impaled man had a jovial attitude to his situation, Pilcher said.
''It was a puncture rather than a rip or tear. It went in by his ear and came out beside his eye, lodged between cheek muscle and skull bone.''
The man was taken to Tauranga Hospital and a hospital spokesperson said he was in a stable condition this morning.
Worksafe are investigating the incident.