Skip to main content


Life-saving service we can’t do without

Whitianga Airfield is another base of operations for the Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter service over the peak summer holiday period. The service is located there from Boxing Day through to Waitangi Day, subject to aircraft availability.
 |  The Informer  | 
Leith Jackson, Hangar Operations, next to John Stephenson
Leith Jackson, Hangar Operations, next to John Stephenson, Chairperson of the Trust with the vehicle on free loan from Farmer Autovillage.

The service is grateful for the government’s support in helping cover our operational costs. The total cost of a mission is about $8,000 per hour. Specifically, Te Whatu Ora or ACC helps cover this cost dependent on whether it’s an accident or medical emergency.

The Coromandel Rescue Helicopter Trust has a very good relationship with the Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter service.

The majority of mission taskings come from the National Air Desk. Taskings can also come from other agencies such as the Rescue Coordination Centre or Police.

Innovations such as the Lucas device and the larger cabin size of the Leonardo AW-169’s means resuscitation can be performed with relative ease aboard all three aircraft.

Whitianga crew were afforded two vehicles for use this summer. Sponsor SG Fleet provided a Santa Fe as a Rapid Response Vehicle (RRV) and Sponsor Farmer Auto Village provided a ute for getting around town. The RRV means Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter crew can assist local patients and emergency services should their expertise be needed (which was the case this summer).

There are a number of reasons for transporting patients to Auckland City Hospital rather than Waikato Hospital including the domicile of the patient and severity of the injury or medical complaint. The travel time from Whitianga to Auckland City Hospital is 20 minutes (versus 35 minutes to Waikato Hospital).

A typical Whitianga crew consists of a Pilot, Air Crew Officer and two Critical Care Paramedics. Pre-Hospital and Retrieval Medicine Doctors are also available from Auckland (16 minutes’ flight away).

Editors Note:

Additional and correct information relating to last weeks editorial in The Informer with the same title as above. There were differences which could lead to misunderstandings.