Iwi focus for chopper ‘cavalry’
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.