Rotorua Daily Post

Libbie’s high flying rescue crew job is truly up lifting

Helicopter crew member has head for heights — but not ladders

- Milly Fullick

Car crashes, hospital transfers and injured hunters — they’re all in a day’s work for Greenlea Rescue Helicopter crew member Libbie Faith.

Her four years on the job have taken her across the North Island’s varied landscapes, racking up more than 600 missions across native bush, Lake Taupo¯, forestry blocks and state highways.

More recently, Faith and the Greenlea team were involved in the relief efforts in Hawke’s Bay and Taira¯whiti/gisborne after Cyclone Gabrielle.

Luckily, this kind of variety is exactly what she was looking for in a job.

Born in the South Island, Faith previously worked in a variety of careers, including in the oil and gas industry in Australia, as well as a barista role.

She moved to Taupo¯ about 15 years ago, spending some of that time working as a bungy jump master.

An interest in healthcare led her to volunteer with St John Ambulance, before becoming an emergency medical technician and later going to university to study health.

She then learned of the Greenlea crew role and found her calling.

Fortunatel­y, heights have never been an issue for her — but only if she knows she has a lifeline.

“I found that I loved working at heights and in the outdoors and thought it would be the perfect job for me. [But] I hate ladders.”

Her duties include ensuring the helicopter is secure before flights, assisting paramedics with patients’ medical needs, and operating the hoist.

Faith said the many perks to the job include the beautiful setting she gets to work in, and how every day is different.

“It’s a dynamic environmen­t. “We’re such a diverse area with a mountain landscape, highways and rural communitie­s.”

Until recently, she was the only female crew member on the Greenlea Rescue helicopter, and is still among the minority of female staff in this type of role.

Faith said she hoped more women would think about working in emergency services, with attitudes changing and barriers to entry being broken down in New Zealand.

“I’ve always worked in industries that are male-dominated.

“Things are changing. It’s so much more accepted now.”

She said Greenlea was a fantastic organisati­on focused on developing the number of women in rescue roles.

“It’s something we’re working on changing.”

Her adventurou­s spirit and love of the skies have rubbed off on her 16-year-old daughter, who admires what her mum does and has plenty of ambition of her own, including working on her private pilot’s licence.

“She definitely thinks that my job is pretty cool.”

 ?? ?? Crewman Libbie Faith feels at home on the Greenlea Rescue Helicopter.
Crewman Libbie Faith feels at home on the Greenlea Rescue Helicopter.
 ?? ?? Libbie Faith is in the minority as a female on the helicopter crew.
Libbie Faith is in the minority as a female on the helicopter crew.

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