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A New Relationship Takes Off

Kaikoura Helicopters, a division of GCH Aviation, one of New Zealand’s largest private aviation companies, has partnered with marine mammal welfare organisation Project Jonah, and together they are on a mission to protect New Zealand’s marine wildlife.

“New Zealand boasts a record of being visited by almost half the known species of whales and dolphins in the world, but sadly some of these end up stranded on our beaches, needing our help to return to the ocean,” says Daren Grover, General Manager of Project Jonah.

“But it takes hard work, expertise and specialist knowledge and equipment to do this”. In fact, just in late June, Project Jonah worked with a team of experts in Timaru, successfully refloating a 15 metre long sperm whale stranded in Caroline Bay.

“Sperm whales are the largest predator in the world, and we have an amazing opportunity to view them in Kaikoura, where these whales spend several years living just off the coast. Flying out over these magnificent mammals give you a real perspective of their size. So you can appreciate just how hard Project Jonah must work to rescue them,” said Caroline Blanchfield, Group Marketing Manager GCH Aviation.

“We are always looking for a way to give back to the communities in which we operate, that fit with our values. Project Jonah was a cause we were looking at supporting and acted straight away on hearing the plight of the Timaru whale. We’ve always admired the work of Project Jonah, responding to whales in distress throughout New Zealand, and after watching the rescue unfold in Timaru, we thought now was the time to reach out and offer our support,” said Caroline.

“We are helping to promote Project Jonah’s work to our customers and make a material difference by becoming a Project Jonah sponsor. At GCH Aviation we see this as an important part of doing our bit to fulfil the New Zealand Tourism industry’s Tiaki promise: To care for New Zealand now and for future generations. By getting involved and giving back we hope to make a positive difference not just right now, but for the future sustainability of such magnificent marine mammals,”said Blanchfield.

“Kaikoura Helicopters give customers two options to support Project Jonah. Clients can donate at our Kaikoura office or donate when they book a flight online through our website. Even though its tough times in the NZ Tourism industry right now, it’s a good feeling to be able to give back to such a worthy cause that also supports what we do as a business,” said Blanchfield.

Project Jonah is a registered charity and has been saving whales since 1974. To find out more or to donate, visit their website here: www.projectjonah.org.nz

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