Five fishermen have been plucked from a sinking fishing boat in a dramatic rescue off the Coromandel Peninsula.
The skipper of the 11 metre wooden launch Steller made a mayday call at 5.45am on Saturday, saying it was taking on water in bad weather off Cape Colville, the northernmost point of the Coromandel Peninsula, a police maritime unit spokesman said.
The five fishermen had set out on a fishing trip on Friday but had struck rocks when they were looking for safe anchorage as the wind got up around 4.30am, a police maritime unit spokesman said.
The navy support ship HMNZS Canterbury, two Coastguard boats and a Westpac rescue helicopter were quickly sent to the scene and a naval Seasprite helicopter managed to winch two of the five men onto the Canterbury.
"Coastguard were able to transfer the other three... before the sinking vessel vanished completely from the sea surface," Sergeant Graham Jex of the police maritime unit said.
All five men, who had been wearing lifejackets, were on board the Canterbury on its way to Auckland and were being checked over by medical staff but were not believed to be injured.
Sgt Jex said the joint rescue effort "absolutely clicked" in a situation that could have been tragic.
The skipper, who had done all the right things, would be interviewed when the Canterbury reached Auckland and the harbour master had been advised.