about us

The Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter responds to life and death situations with the speed and agility that can make all the difference, with patients able to receive urgent medical treatment whilst en route to a medical facility.

Providing a fully-fledged air emergency medical service with the employment of our own full-time experienced Critical Care Flight Paramedic (CCFP), Crewman and Pilots. Our crews offer a diverse range of attributes and experience to our operation. Each member of the team brings a specialist skillset, enhancing the safety and efficiency of rescue missions.

The team's expertise means your rescue helicopter can attend search and rescue missions, operations involving a winch, night operations, time-critical inter-hospital transfers, and provide assistance to NZ Fire, Land Search and Rescue and the Armed Offender Squad.

Central Air Ambulance Rescue Limited (CAARL) and Search and Rescue Services Ltd (SRSL) are registered charitable companies that operate 8 rescue helicopter bases covering the Central and Southern North Island, including the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter. To find out more, go to https://www.caarl.org.nz/


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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

Operations Manager

Leads all areas regarding HR, Training, Office Management & Finance

Renee Bosley

Fundraising & Marketing Executive

Supports the Fundraising & Marketing Manager, funding requirements, events and oversees fundraising campaigns
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Jenny Barris

Finance Processor

Processes donations that are made across all bases
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Ayshea Abela

Partnerships Coordinator

Supports our sponsors and corporate donor relationships
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Kaia MacGregor

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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Olivia Martinovich

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
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Kelly Buchan

Community Fundraising Coordinator

Supports community fundraisers, provides fundraising support and looks after our legacy program.
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Milla Ware

Fundraising & Marketing Assistant

Supports the everyday functions of the Fundraising and Marketing team

Millie Armory

Fundraising Support

Supports the everyday functions of the Fundraising and Marketing team


Specifications & Equipment

The Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter is an Airbus H145. This twin-engine helicopter has advanced technology that significantly increase efficiency and performance, making it the best aircraft for all types of emergency situations.


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.

Sam - Pilot and Base manager

Andy - Pilot

Dan - Pilot

Frenchy - Pilot

Ben - pilot

Kane - 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.

Jennifer - Crewman

Georgia - Crewman

David - Crewman

Mo - Crewman

Your Critical Care Flight Paramedic

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

Diane - Critical Care Flight Paramedic

Ray - Critical Care Flight Paramedic

Rick - Critical Care Flight Paramedic

Simon - Critical Care Flight Paramedic

Your Operations Team

Muir - Medical Director

Barry - Pilot Training Manager

Charlie - Chief Pilot

Chris - Chief Operating Officer

Graeme - Clinical Operations Manager

Hugo - Clinical Development Manager

History of the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter

The Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter was founded in 1987 and has undertaken over 17,000 missions since its inception. When incepted, the service was 2 pilots equipped with a single-engine squirrel helicopter, only capable of flying during daylight hours, and a tennis court substituting as a landing pad.

With more volunteers and local funding supporting the service, the Squirrel was replaced with a Bell 222 Helicopter in 1995. With IFR capability, the pilots were now able to navigate night missions and conditions with limited visibility.

A winch-capable, single-pilot IFR BK-117 was fitted out to be used as a new rescue helicopter and was in use by 2013. By 2019, a second BK-117 was fitted out with avionics and is now in use alongside the first to meet the growing demand for the service and ensure that rescues could be carried out right across the Waikato.

In 2023, the Airbus H145 Twin-engine helicopter was introduced as the new rescue helicopter for the Waikato base. The Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter service has long been a two-rescue helicopter base and with this new H145 rescue helicopter, it will remain a two-rescue helicopter base.

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 Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter. Encompassing a fleet of rescue helicopters, the service provides air health and rescue services free of charge to the public on a no-fault basis.
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