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Macca, a four-times champion of the Upper Clutha A&P Show Jack Russell race, was coming home from a walk with sisters Alyssa (11), Caitlin (10) and Holly (6) Gibson and their friend Jenaya Wilkinson (11) when he vanished into the culvert in hot pursuit of the rabbit.
The girls said the rabbit appeared to have blocked Macca's exit and Macca then slipped and flipped on to his back, preventing him from reversing.
They could see Macca stuck about halfway down the culvert and the panic-stricken girls turned to their parents, Shane and Tracey Gibson, for help.
Mrs Gibson said she was embarrassed to ring 111 and ask for the fire brigade but there was no SPCA in Wanaka she could turn to.
It was even more embarrassing when the volunteer brigade's sirens, which can be heard all over town, went off, she said.
The girls said they were worried for Macca and appreciated the help from the five firefighters who arrived in their truck with lights flashing.
"We were so scared he wouldn't get out alive and we are so thankful they could get him out," Caitlin said.
Firefighter Andy Harridge said they were pleased to help.
"That's a good ending to the story," he said.
The firefighters spent about five minutes digging up the Lindsay St culvert to extract Macca.
They then flushed it with water to remove the rabbit, which Macca had killed while in the pipe.
Because Macca was very keen to go back in while the pipe was still full of water, stones were temporarily placed over each end to discourage him.
Shane Gibson said Macca was an embarrassment and he was contemplating stripping him of his name.
Macca earned his two middle names because of a Gibson family tradition to name the first son John Robert, but Mr and Mrs Gibson have daughters.