A mystery man and two police officers helped rescue five people, including two children, who were dragged out to sea in two separate incidents tonight.
Two police officers jumped into the Ohiwa Harbour in the Bay of Plenty to rescue a man and two children, aged 10 and 11, about 7.45pm.
Police Northern Communications Inspector Ian Brooker said the man's partner called police after the trio were pulled out to sea while swimming in the harbour, 11km east of Whakatane.
The police officers swam to the group and successfully pulled them to shore.
All three swimmers were taken to hospital by rescue helicopter, he said.
Simultaneously at Bethells Beach, west of Auckland, two people were struggling in the water after being caught in a rip.
The lifeguards had finished patrolling for the day, but a man walking on the beach spotted the pair in trouble and swam out, Brooker said.
He managed to pull one person to shore.
The second person was rescued with the help of a surfer and a surf lifesaving team, who had returned to the beach to assist, he said.
- Fairfax Media