29 Apr 2024

New Zealanders are urged to give generously this Chopper Appeal Month to support the thousands of lifesaving missions flown by our rescue helicopters every year as costs of equipment and training continue to rise.  

9,228 helicopter missions were flown by New Zealand’s nationwide network of rescue helicopters in 2023, including 1,036 missions in the Auckland and Coromandel regions. 

This Thursday, 2 May, Westpac teams around the country will be out and about raising funds for their local rescue helicopter service in the annual Chopper Street Appeal. 

Westpac NZ Chief Executive, Catherine McGrath says people who are saved by a chopper often tell their rescuers of their relief when they hear a helicopter on its way. 

“For the thousands of people who need rescuing every year – many in life-or-death situations - there’s no greater sound than a chopper approaching,” says Ms McGrath. 

“No matter where you are in the country, it’s comforting to know that the expert services of a Chopper crew usually aren’t far away. 

“As a proud partner of the rescue helicopters for more than four decades, Westpac team members around the country will be busy throughout May raising money for an important cause.  Every dollar makes a difference, so we’re asking New Zealanders to dig deep to help keep those blades turning and keep communities safe.” 

Last year, the Westpac Chopper Appeal raised $1.4 million for the rescue helicopter trusts around the country. 

Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust Chairman, John Duncan says the public’s generosity has helped the trust invest in the capabilities of its aircraft and crew. 

“Our team are highly specialised, and we take great pride in providing New Zealanders with first class medical care in some of their greatest times of need,” Mr Duncan says. 

“We need to invest in regular equipment upgrades, maintenance and training, and those costs are rising all the time. We know Kiwi families are feeling cost pressures too, which is why we’re hugely grateful to anyone who can donate even a small amount over the month of May.” 

Westpac funds the marketing and administration costs of the Chopper Appeal and distributes all funds raised back to donors’ local rescue helicopter trust. 

People wishing to make a donation or find out more can visit www.chopperappeal.co.nz 


Rescue stories can be found at chopperappeal.co.nz.

Editor’s note: There are 15 rescue helicopter trusts nationwide:  

Northland Emergency Services Trust (Northland Rescue Helicopters), Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust (Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopters), Philips Search and Rescue Trust - Bay of Plenty  (Aerocool Rescue Helicopter), Philips Search & Rescue Trust - Waikato-King Country-Coromandel (Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter), Philips Search & Rescue Trust - Taupo and Central Plateau and Lakes Region (Greenlea Rescue Helicopter), Hawke’s Bay Rescue Helicopter Trust (Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter), Eastland Helicopter Rescue Trust - Gisborne (Trust Tairāwhiti Rescue Helicopter), Taranaki Rescue Helicopter Trust (Taranaki Community Rescue Helicopter), Philips Search and Rescue Trust - Manawatu-Whanganui (Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter), Life Flight Trust, Wellington-Marlborough (Wellington Westpac Rescue Helicopter), Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter Trust (Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter), Canterbury West Coast Air Rescue Trust - Canterbury (Canterbury Westpac Rescue Helicopters), Canterbury West Coast Air Rescue Trust - West Coast (ROA Mining Rescue Helicopter), Otago Southland Rescue Helicopter Trust (Helicopter Emergency Medical Services NZ Ltd), Lakes District Air Rescue Trust (Helicopter Emergency Medical Services NZ Ltd)