about us

The Grassroots Trust Rescue Helicopter is powered by a fully operational BK-117 Kawasaki helicopter with single-pilot instrument flight capability and operating around the clock, with a flight workforce consisting of pilots, crew, and in-house Critical Care Flight Paramedics (CCFP).

The Grassroots Trust Rescue Helicopter responds to callout to the roadside and off-road incidents, marine mayday calls, bush and mountain search and rescue missions, hospital to hospital transfers, and rural and remote medical and accident emergencies.


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Vanessa Richmond

Group Manager

Leads Philips Search & Rescue Trust and oversees the Fundraising, Marketing, Administration & Finance teams
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Sharni Weir

Fundraising & Marketing Manager

Leads all areas of Fundraising & Marketing. Oversees the delivery of fundraising, marketing & communication strategies
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Angela Cranfield

Finance Manager

Oversees and supports all things related to finance
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Kirstin Tye

Project Manager

Leads all relevant PSRT business projects, whilst providing support to the wider team

Renee Bosley

Office Manager

Oversees and supports all things related to administration
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Milla Ware

Marketing Assistant

Supports the everyday functions of the Fundraising and Marketing team
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Jenny Barris

Finance Processor

Processes donations that are made across all bases

Millie Armory

Administration Support

Supports the everyday fundraising & administration functions of Fundraising, Marketing & Administration
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Ayshea Abela

Partnerships Coordinator

Supports our sponsors and corporate donor relationships
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Catherine Cook

Community Fundraising Coordinator

Supports community fundraisers, provides fundraising support and looks after our bequest program.
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Keryn Peddle

Donor Care Coordinator

First point of contact for our generous donors, providing support with whatever they need
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Laura Hamilton

Database Coordinator

Undertakes the day-to-day coordination of our database and provides support to our donors
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Bridget Ross

Marketing & Communications Coordinator

Manages social media accounts, content creation and communicates with supporters via campaigns & media
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Gillian Crompton

Marketing & Patient Coordinator

Looks after our community of patients and families, sharing stories with our family of supporters


Specifications & Equipment

Inside PNRH
The Grassroots Trust Rescue Helicopter is a Kawasaki BK117. This single-pilot twin-engine helicopter has commonly been used as a rescue helicopter due to its speed, reliability and ability to fly close to cliff faces which makes it the best aircraft for all types of missions.


Your Pilots

With proven experience in a diverse range of flying conditions, and logging thousands of flight hours, a rescue helicopter pilot is trusted with the safety of all on board.
GTRH Jodie

Jodie - Pilot

Pilot Lance Burns

Lance - Pilot


Mark - Pilot


Ross - Pilot

Your Crewmen

As the extra eyes and ears for the Pilot and the Critical Care Flight Paramedic during a mission, safety on board and around the aircraft is their priority including winch operation, navigation, obstacle identification and safe landing during flights.
GTRH Chappy

Chappy - Crewman


Waka - Crewman

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Graeme - Crewman and Base Manager

GTRH Leigh

Leigh - Crewman


Sam - Crewman

Your Critical Care Flight Paramedics

A critical care flight paramedic is trained to perform advanced medical intervention and life-saving procedures within a rescue helicopter environment.
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Ben - Critical Care Flight Paramedic

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James - Critical Care Flight Paramedic


Rene - Critical Care Flight Paramedic

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Schalk - Critical Care Flight Paramedic

Your Operations Team

Medical Director Muir Wallace 2

Muir - Medical Director

Pilot Barry Vincent

Barry - Pilot Training Manager

Pilot Charlie Beetham square

Charlie - Chief Pilot

Chris M Ops Square

Chris - Chief Operating Officer

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Graeme - Clinical Operations Manager

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Hugo - Clinical Development Manager

History of the Grassroots Trust Rescue Helicopter

The Grassroots Trust Rescue Helicopter was established in 1991, formerly known as the NZ Rail Helicopter. It has undertaken over 10,600 missions since its inception. The helicopter was based at the airport and was brought to life by generous volunteers. In 2003, the Philips Rescue Hangar was built by the NZ Army, officially giving the rescue crew their own base.

In 1996, the helicopter upgraded to a Squirrel AS350A machine and Tranz Rail took over as principal sponsor. It was rebranded as the Square Trust Rescue Helicopter in 2002. As the service grew, the need for a new helicopter became apparent and June 2015 marked the official launch of the new BK117, which continues to save lives in the Manawatu and Whanganui regions to this day. In September 2022, the Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter was renamed as the Grassroots Trust Rescue Helicopter.

Philips Search & Rescue Trust (PSRT) is the charity responsible for fundraising and promotion of the North Island’s largest pool of community rescue helicopters, including the Grassroots Trust Rescue Helicopter. Encompassing a fleet of rescue helicopters and fixed-wing planes, the service provides air health and rescue services free of charge to the public on a no-fault basis.
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