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Prof Brooking (69) was in a car heading home from the Black Caps cricket match at the University of Otago Oval on Wednesday when he went into cardiac arrest and collapsed shortly before 7pm.
His daughter, Rachel Brooking, told the Otago Daily Times Prof Brooking was with friend and former student James Beattie, who called for help and then administered CPR - helped by another passer-by - until paramedics arrived.
He was taken to Dunedin Hospital, but had since regained consciousness and been moved from ICU to the cardiac ward.
He was likely to require surgery, she said.
The family were "exceptionally grateful'' for the efforts of Mr Beattie, who knew CPR and could help Prof Brooking, as well as the passer-by, emergency services, hospital staff and well-wishers.
"Thankfully, Tom is now talking and awaiting further treatment,'' she said.
Prof Brooking retired as a lecturer late last year, ending a 40-year career teaching history at the University of Otago.
He planned to continue co-editing a volume in a series on the cultural history of democracy and embark on a major new history of rural New Zealand.
Ms Brooking said the actions of her father's friend, in performing CPR, underscored the value of people learning the skill.
"I have now enrolled in a full-day first aid course next month,'' she said.