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High profile Aucklanders for rescue helicopter

Media Statement 24 August 2005
For immediate release

High profile Aucklanders step up for rescue helicopter service

A bold new fundraising initiative to expand the capability of the Auckland Rescue Helicopter service was launched today.

The Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust (ARHT) is to replace its 20-year-old leased helicopter with a bigger more versatile helicopter to meet the growing needs of the greater Auckland region. The Bell 412 is the preferred option.

The job of raising the funds to purchase the new helicopter is being undertaken by the new Auckland Rescue Helicopter Foundation which was launched today.

The Foundation is made up of six high-profile Aucklanders and will be chaired by businesswoman Michelle Boag, who is also a trustee of the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust.

The other trustees are:

Cath Handley, company director and Ellerslie Flower Show founder
Paul Holmes, broadcaster
Murray Bolton, company director and ARHT Chairman
Alan Smythe, Opera in the Park organiser
June McCabe, Director, Corporate Affairs, Westpac Bank.

Ms Boag said the contract on the old helicopter expires on 31 December next year.

“ARHT’s preferred option for a bigger, more capable helicopter is going to cost in the vicinity of $7 million. It is the Foundation’s job to raise those funds,” Ms Boag said.

“Our six trustees have an extensive and impressive mix of business, finance, fundraising and event management experience in Auckland, as well as across the country and offshore, and they all have a great deal of energy and a passion for the Auckland rescue helicopter.”

Chief Executive of the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust, Rea Wikaira, welcomed the establishment of the Foundation.

“With the Foundation looking after fundraising for the new helicopter, the Trust can focus on delivering a world-class aero-medical and air-rescue service.

“The Bell-412 as a preferred option is a big jump in size and capability for ARHT, but if we want to be serious about continuing to provide the people of Auckland and the Hauraki Gulf with a world-class service then it’s the sort of helicopter we have to have,” he said.

* Please note the helicopter operated by the ARHT is known as the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.


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