North Shore Rescue says the pair was looking for 21-year-old Liang Jin, who was last seen New Year's Eve and is believed to have gone hiking in the area.
Rescue crews say the two were looking for Jin in the Hanes Valley on Thursday when they ended up being rescued themselves.
Searchers were about to fly Jin's parents through the area by helicopter to show them where their son may have gone when they received a call about the man's missing friends.
North Shore Rescue says the pair would likely not have made it out without help, and the group is stressing the risk of going into the backcountry unprepared and without training.
An official search for Jin was called off Tuesday because of weather and other factors including difficulty narrowing down a search area.
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version incorrectly reported that searchers were flying with Jin's parents when they had not yet done so.