Westpac Rescue




The Westpac Rescue Helicopter provides a vital 24/7 service that makes a life or death difference for thousands of New Zealanders each year. You never know when you or a loved one may need it.

Westpac Rescue helicopters operate a vital rescue service that’s on-call for all New Zealanders, virtually anywhere in the country.

These helicopters are like a fully equipped intensive care unit in the sky. They’re equipped to deal with any situation – from a defibrillator for a premature baby, to full life-support systems.

Rescue helicopters are used when:

  • a patient is very sick or badly injured, and medics believe getting to hospital quickly will make a big difference
  • an accident has occurred in a difficult or remote location

The Auckland Rescue Helicopter has been providing rescue services for 40 years, 24/7, 365 days of the year.  Coverage is from Auckland, as far north as Te Hana, and as far south as Meremere, including Coromandel and the Gulf Islands. They also run the helicopters and operate the crew featured on the popular Rescue1 television show.

Every summer and busy holiday periods an Auckland Rescue Helicopter is stationed at Whitianga to provide a quicker and more efficient service to those in need over this time. This has led to the establishment of the Coromandel Rescue Helicopter Trust.The Rescue helicopter responds to over 200 rescue missions per year in the Coromandel Peninsula, alone.

The Coromandel Rescue Helicopter Trust was established to develop and support the permanent helicopter base and crew for the Rescue Helicopter.

To date the Coromandel Helicopter Trust has been successful in securing significant funding to establish the 20m x 14m hangar and four-bedroom crew base next to the Mercury Bay Aero Club airfield.


Rebecca's Story 


Rebecca Harris - Fundraiser of the Year 2015

Whitianga teenager Rebecca Harris owes her life to the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.

She was only 12 when she needed urgent medical attention for a mystery illness, and had to be airlifted to Thames.

Not long after her scary experience, Rebecca was made aware of Westpac Rescue Helicopter's financial stress so pledged to personally raise $10,000 a year for the organisation.

Now aged 18, and diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, she has managed to fulfil her goal every year for the last four years.

Each year, Rebecca comes up with a novel way to promote and raise funds for the helicopters.

First up, Rebecca papier-mached her mother's car into the shape of a Westpac Rescue Helicopter, and entered it as a float in the local Christmas parade.  The float was then auctioned off on Trade Me.  She has hosted dinner and music events for more than 100 guests.

This year she assisted at the "A Taste of Matarangi" Food and Wine festival, which raised over $10,000 for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.

Rebecca has been named a Coromandel ambassador for the Westpac Rescue and was awarded the New Zealander of the Year Local Hero medal.

Now she has been nominated for a Pride of New Zealand Award, in the Fundraiser of the Year category.

Her nominator said: "With Rebecca's help the helicopter is now well established in the community and has a hangar and crew accommodation to enable them to be stationed on the Coromandel for part of the year".

Rebecca managed to raise these funds while she was still a high school student.  "At times it was quite difficult," she said. "But school was really great about it. They allowed me to do work when I could and as long as I submitted it, they were really supportive." She hopes to encourage students to get involved.

Rebecca is now studying towards a business degree at Auckland University of Technology, where she was awarded the Woolf Fisher First-in-Family Scholarship.