Guards at Rimutaka Prison faced a hairy situation when they realised an intruder was trapped inside a perimeter fence and looking to escape.
The invader, a large hare, had somehow wriggled its way past an electrified fence.
Stuck in "no man's land" with no food or water for three days, it was starting to look worse for wear, so the guards called the charity Helping You Help Animals (Huha).
"We turned up with a giant net and we were all ready to go," Huha spokeswoman Carolyn Press-McKenzie said.
Sections of the electrified fence were turned off to allow two volunteers and two guards to find the hare in safety.
But plans to catch the sluggish-looking animal went out the window when it suddenly raced off when it spotted the helpful humans.
Eventually the guards and Huha volunteers managed to herd it out an open gate to freedom.
"What was really neat was how much the guards cared," Press-McKenzie said.
"They had watched it for three days, thinking that if it found its way in it could find its way out, but it was getting slower and slower so they decided an intervention was needed."
A Corrections Department spokeswoman confirmed the hare was spotted on security cameras by staff at the prison, near Upper Hutt, north of Wellington.
Extra security was in put place as sections of the electrified fence were deactivated, she said.
"Cameras were pointed to the zone of isolation and two corrections officers were stationed there."
- The Dominion Post