A tramper who found a woman who was missing on the South Island's West Coast since before Christmas says she was exhausted and disorientated.
Alex Morley was tramping in Paparoa National Park on Sunday when he saw Shelley Crooks at the edge of Fox River.
Ms Crooks was last seen in Punakaiki on 22 December.
Mr Morley said he knew someone was missing in the area, and when he approached Ms Crooks she looked weak and could barely speak.
"I could see on the opposite southern bank, where I needed to cross back, there was somebody at the side of the river.
"I waved and said hello and [she] kind of weakly waved at me and I could see that [she] moved [her] mouth and I couldn't hear what [she] said.
"I kind of quickly gathered that this person, they weren't completely safe, there was something that struck me as being suspicious."
Mr Morley then hiked down the river to get help.
Ms Crooks, 36, is originally from Bay of Plenty but has no fixed abode. She was walking the tracks of Westland when she injured her leg and became lost.
Police said the right equipment and an extensive knowledge of how to survive kept her alive for six weeks as she slowly made her way out of the bush.
Ms Crooks is being treated in Christchurch Hospital. Police said she was thankful to her rescuer and everyone involved in the search.