Iwi fo­cus for chop­per ‘cavalry’

The Northland Age - - Local News -

North­land’s res­cue he­li­copter ser­vice is strength­en­ing its links with iwi so it can serve re­mote ru­ral ar­eas more ef­fec­tively, and boost aware­ness about what it does among Ma¯ori.

The ser­vice’s Ma¯ori am­bas­sador, Richard Shep­herd, said the aim was to en­sure that the needs of Ma¯ori were be­ing met, and that ul­ti­mately more lives would be saved, es­pe­cially in iso­lated com­mu­ni­ties like Matauri Bay and the Karikari Penin­sula.

Ac­cord­ing to St John am­bu­lance sta­tis­tics, about a quar­ter of the al­most 1000 peo­ple who were trans­ported by North­land res­cue he­li­copters last year were Ma¯ori. Mr Shep­herd said pa­tients were often very young or el­derly, and lived in re­mote lo­ca­tions, mean­ing a he­li­copter was their only life­line in the event of ac­ci­dent or ill­ness.

“With hos­pi­tal fa­cil­i­ties be­ing down-graded over a num­ber of as a po­ten­tial ca­reer path amongst young Ma¯ori.

“We are the only res­cue he­li­copter op­er­a­tion cer­ti­fied to do our own main­te­nance, which means we have an im­pres­sive en­gi­neer­ing op­er­a­tion on our own doorstep,” Mr Ah­lers said.

“We also have three state-ofthe-art he­li­copters, and a world­class flight sim­u­la­tor, all lo­cated in Whangarei, so there are ex­cel­lent op­por­tu­ni­ties for young Ma¯ori to be in­volved in an ex­cit­ing and chal­leng­ing in­dus­try.”


ANY­WHERE ANY TIME: A North­land Elec­tric­ity res­cue he­li­copter at Rangiputa — at its most valu­able in re­mote lo­ca­tions.

SPE­CIAL ROLE: Ma¯ ori am­bas­sador Richard Shep­herd, strength­en­ing links with iwi.

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