21 July, 2020

Amazing feats of fundraising help keep rescue choppers in the air

In the middle of the COVID-19 lockdown, Kiwis found all sorts of creative ways to raise money for this year’s Westpac Chopper Appeal, contributing to a total national fundraising haul of $1,650,661.

This total includes the $1m donation from Westpac to cover a fundraising shortfall caused by COVID-19 related disruptions, plus an additional $650,661 fundraised through the Appeal campaign.

With public events and the annual Street Appeal Day cancelled due to social distancing restrictions, Westpac staff and their families got creative to help raise money:

  •    Auckland-based Investor Relations Officer Zendie Macahilig sold her own range of handcrafted earrings to raise funds;
  •    Wellington staff created a Multisport Challenge, collectively covering 1,000km (the average distance the Wellington Life Flight Helicopter covers in one week) during May by paddling, running, walking, swimming, rowing and even dancing;
  •    Dunedin-based Regional Support Officer Rachael Masterton was busy in the kitchen making a range of jams and chutney to sell to friends, family and colleagues;
  •    Whitianga branch staff walked a combined total of 570km in May – the equivalent of three chopper flights from the town to Auckland City Hospital.

Westpac NZ CEO David McLean says the bank is humbled by the generosity and ingenuity shown by New Zealanders towards their local rescue helicopters.

“It has been a really tough few months for the choppers, who continued to fly life-saving missions while dealing with increased costs around PPE and decontamination of equipment, as well as the cancellation of so many fundraising events,” Mr McLean says.

“To everyone who has gone the extra mile to support the vital service they provide, we’re incredibly grateful.”

Donations are welcome throughout the year and can be made at www.chopperappeal.co.nz or any Westpac branch.

ENDS