Four people had to be rescued on Sunday afternoon after getting into trouble while tubing down the Kuratau River which flows into Lake Taupo.
The three adults and a boy, 10, were part of a group of seven.
Police say a woman and the boy lost their nerve and abandoned their tubes and waited on the riverbank with a man from the group for help.
Another man fell off his tube and was stranded further downstream.
He had to be winched to safety, while the other three were guided out through the bush by a police officer who was winched down to them.
Police say some of the group had previously been on the river, but it was running higher on Sunday, which contributed to their predicament.