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New Ambulance Service for Wellington Community

Fostering Resilience in Aotearoa New Zealand

MEDIA RELEASE – Embargoed until Friday 30th May 2008


“New Ambulance Service for Wellington Community – More May Follow”

The New Zealand Resilience Trust is honouring 30 Wellington people at its inaugural prize giving ceremony this Friday. Each person has completed a community education course with the local North Wellington Resilience Trust in the first half of this year.

Along with the recipients a number of others will be in attendance at the event, which will be hosted by the Hon. Peter Dunne, Patron of the North Wellington Resilience Trust.

Attendees at the event, to be held at Newlands College, will also hear Mr Dunne announce the establishment of a community ambulance service for the area. This service – which will be one of the first to be formed under the recently-updated quality standard for ambulances – will be the first ambulance service in the country owned- and operated at a grass roots level.

The NWRT will be operating an ambulance service in the Greater Newlands Area starting later this year, which will contribute to the resiliency of the community in a number of areas: 1. As a resource, it means an ambulance service will be available in the community should there be a major earthquake or other natural disaster; 2. Volunteers will be required to operate the ambulance, so local people will have the chance to learn valuable medical and patient care skills; 3. It will serve as a focus for community participation.

Chair of the local Trust, Reg McLean, says the service will be also be a boon to local sports groups and schools. “The Newlands/Grenada Community Ambulance will be staffed by qualified ambulance staff and made available at no charge to attend any large gathering or sporting event held in the greater Newlands area,” says Mr McLean, “As well as providing a higher level of first aid, this gives us plenty of hands-on training opportunities for our volunteers. Although the service will not transport patients, it will have all the equipment and capabilities of a regular ambulance."

The establishment of this service has wider impacts for the rest of the country. Director of the New Zealand Resilience Trust Jarrod Coburn – himself a qualified paramedic – says the new Standard opens the way for communities to develop custom-tailored ambulance services to meet their needs.

“As a national trust we will comply with the Standard and be able to offer umbrella coverage to future locally-based resilience trusts across the country,” says Mr Coburn, “What we are seeing here today is the start of a revolution that will see more communities become self-aware and become more responsible for their own destinies."

The Trust was awaiting the publication of the new Standard to start work on the service, and moves are currently underway to establish the first of what might be many similar local services in the Wellington area. Already a vehicle has been donated and some funding secured for the necessary medical equipment.


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