Westpac Rescue Helicopters

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 someone close to you may need it.

The Westpac Rescue Helicopters provide a vital 24/7 service for thousands of New Zealanders in need each year, performing lifesaving missions from accidents to search and rescue work. 

About the service

New Zealand’s rescue helicopters provide a vital safety net for all people. Performing over 7,590 missions last year and operating nationwide through 16 local rescue helicopter services, many of the rescue choppers act as flying intensive care units. Along with remote rescue, the highly trained specialist crews have been called upon to perform critical hospital transfers, attend emergency births, and respond to car and boating accidents. In fact they may attend any type of emergency where rapid response or difficult location is a factor. And they’ll do this any time of the day or night, every day of the year, right across the country. 

Westpac’s support

We’ve been a proud sponsor of Westpac Rescue Helicopters for 35 years. Here’s how we help;

  • we’re the principal sponsor of the Auckland, Waikato, Wellington and Canterbury rescue helicopter services
  • we’re an associate sponsor of the West Coast, Tauranga, Taupo, Palmerston North and Rotorua rescue helicopter services
  • we provide people and funding to promote and manage the annual nationwide fundraising campaign, the Westpac Chopper Appeal. We proudly support all rescue helicopters in New Zealand through our appeal

Our goal is to raise $1 million every year for rescue helicopters around New Zealand. In 2015, the Westpac Chopper Appeal raised $1.54 million with all donations being distributed back to the 16 rescue chopper services across the country, meaning money raised locally, stays local.

A big thanks to all who dug deep and contributed, New Zealanders have again shown amazing support for their local rescue helicopters. Your generosity continues to ensure this vital emergency service can stay in the air and carry out life-saving rescue missions every day.

Share the stories

More than 7,000 missions are undertaken by rescue choppers each year. Visit chopperappeal.co.nz to browse some amazing real-life Chopper rescue stories and to share your story. 

How can you help?

Make a donation. You don’t need to wait for our annual appeal – donations are always welcome at any time! You can:

  • donate when you visit your nearest Westpac branch
  • make an online donation using a credit/debit card at chopperappeal.co.nz
  • log-in to Westpac Online Banking to transfer your donation
  • if you have a Westpac credit card that earns hotpoints®, you can donate your hotpoints through the Westpac hotpoints website

Donations are always welcome, but it’s not all about the money. Even raising awareness about the role of rescue helicopters can help us save more lives.

  • Find out more about your regional service in AucklandHamiltonWellington and Canterbury
  • Keep in touch with us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram using #chopperappeal; and bookmark our website, www.chopperappeal.co.nz, so you can check in regularly.

Contact us

For any queries in regards to the Westpac Chopper Appeal, please email westpac_chopper_appeal@westpac.co.nz.

Chopper Open Days 2016

Open Day Photo Life FLight must credit Phil Reid Dominion Post

The Chopper Open Days are a rare opportunity to get up close and personal with your local chopper, meet the crew and check out emergency services displays.  

With food and refreshments, displays and demonstrations, face painting, games, entertainment and more, this is a fun filled day for everyone. Bring the family - you'll have a ball!

Open Day dates and locations


When: Sunday 14 February, 10am - 2pm
Where: BayTrust Rescue Helicopter Base, Cnr Arawa St & Pukeroa Rd, Rotorua Hospital

Palmerston North/Whanganui

When: Sunday 28 February, 10am - 2pm
Where: Whanganui Hospital Helipad, Heads Road, Whanganui

West Coast

When: Sunday 6 March, 10am - 3pm
Where: NZCC Rescue Helicopter Base, 64 Waterwalk Road, Greymouth


When: Sunday 13 March, 10am - 2pm
Where: Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter Base, Jennian Hangar, Waikato Hospital, Pembroke Street, Hamilton  


When: Sunday 20 March, 10am - 2pm
Where: Greenlea Rescue Helicopter Base, Taupo Airport, 1105 Anzac Memorial Drive, Taupo


When: Sunday 3 April, 10am - 2pm
Where: Trustpower Rescue Helicopter Base, Ian Pain Memorial Hanger, 17th Ave, Tauranga Hospital, Tauranga


When: Sunday 10 April, 10am - 2pm
Where: Life Flight Trust , Westpac Rescue Helicopter Base, 17 George Bolt Street, Rongotai, Wellington


When: Sunday 1 May, 10am - 3pm
Where: Garden City Helicopters Ltd, Canterbury Westpac Rescue Helicopter Base, 515 Memorial Avenue, Christchurch


When: Sunday 1 May, 11am - 3pm
Where: Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter Trust, 5 McLaren Drive, Nelson Airport, Nelson 7011


Photo credit: Phil Reid - Dominon Post