Two 11-year-old boys from Ruatahuna walked several hours to raise the alarm after the man they were in the bush with collapsed and died.
Rotorua Police Search and Rescue coordinator John Wilson said the boys, who he believed might have been the man's grandsons, did very well to get out and raise the alarm.
Wilson said search and rescue were alerted about 7.30 on Saturday night.
It took two hours to get to Ruatahuna where locals took them to where the man collapsed.
The man was dead when they got to the scene about 1am. They stayed with the body overnight and locals today helped bring the body out using quad bikes and a 4wd.
''The boys were very upset and very tired but they did very well doing the only thing they needed to do, and that was to get out and raise the alarm.
''It took two to four hours for the boys to walk out and they got out after nightfall.''
There was a track of sorts and the area was full of old logging roads.
''Access is always difficult in the Urewera's and it wasn't made any easier by the rain which had been falling for about 12 hours.
It was too early to release the dead man's name, he said.
Other Rotorua police and volunteer rescuers also had a hard Saturday night going to the aid of three Rotorua youths who got lost and stranded after dark at the top of some steep bluffs beside Lake Rotoiti.
Police received a call for help about 6.30pm. They were finally found at 11pm and it took till 2am to walk them out on another route.
''They were foolish, given the terrain and the time of the day and they paid for that with a very unpleasant time in the cold and rain waiting to get rescued.
''It was very steep and you would question anybody going up there in daylight, let alone in the dark,'' said Wilson.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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