About | Philips Search and Rescue Trust

Saving Lives

Philips Search and Rescue Trust is the charity responsible for New Zealand’s largest pool of community helicopters. Encompassing six rescue helicopters and two fixed-wing planes, the rapid response service provides air health search and rescue services free of charge to the public on a no-fault basis.

Available through the emergency 111 call system, our rapid response rescue helicopters bring life-saving equipment, rescue personnel and trauma-trained medics directly to the patient.

Engaged when time is critical or accessibility is compromised, our search and rescue helicopters serve the Waikato – King Country, Bay of Plenty, Central Plateau and Manawatu – Whanganui communities. Providing timely assistance can reduce disability and improve survival – the sooner resuscitation and treatment begins the greater chance of patient recovery.

Powered by an experienced professional crew of pilots, paramedics, flight nurses and volunteer crewmen, in a life and death situation it is this speed and agility that can make all the difference, with patients able to receive urgent medical treatment while en route to a medical facility.

Westpac Air Ambulance

Philips Search and Rescue Trust also own and operate New Zealand’s Westpac Air Ambulance. Nationally recognised, the Westpac Air Ambulance is an accredited provider of Level 1 and 2 aero-medical transport services. Flying bedside-to-bedside, the highly experienced medical crew can accommodate one or two stretcher patients, non-stop, to any location in New Zealand.

Our rescue helicopters are available for

  • Motor vehicle and motorcycle accidents
  • Forestry and farming accidents
  • Hunting, tramping and recreational accidents
  • Search and rescue operations – lost in bushland, mountains and at sea
  • Inter-hospital transfers for specialist care

Philips Search and Rescue Trust was founded in 1985 after an endowment by Philips New Zealand Limited to mark a light aircraft accident near Turangi in which two of the Philips personnel lost their lives.

Since its inception, the search and rescue service has grown from a part-time base in Taupo to 24/7 availability in the Waikato – King Country, Bay of Plenty, Central Plateau and Manawatu – Whanganui communities.

Philips Search and Rescue Trust aims to provide the highest standard of air ambulance, search and rescue services. We believe that through enduring relationships with the communities in which we operate, together we can save lives.

Waikato Westpac
Rescue Helicopter


Grant Bremner

Base Manager/Chief Pilot

Loren Haisley


Dan Harcourt


Bill McNeilly

Crewman/Crew Trainer

Simon Burrows


Trustpower TECT
Rescue Helicopter


Liam Brettkelly

Base Manager/Pilot

Todd Dunham


Rescue Helicopter


Barry Vincent

Base Manager/Chief Pilot

Ben Fry


Rescue Helicopter


Nat Every

Base Manager/Pilot

Palmerston North
Rescue Helicopter

Palmerston North

Chris Moody

Base Manager/Pilot

Lance Burns


Kevin Dalzell


Graeme Spiers


Errol Millar

Executive Chairman

Terry Burcher


Patricia Bayley


Stewart Davies


David Wickham


Vanessa Richmond

Communications & Marketing Manager

Patricia Parsons

Community Liaison

We Need You

Community generosity powers Philips Search and Rescue Trust. The aircraft fleet and life-saving search and rescue feats performed by our crew could not be possible without the ongoing financial support of our Friends members, communities, sponsors and partners.

Collectively, funds generated through the community and sponsorship cover half of the annual expenses required to operate our rescue helicopters in each region; without this extremely generous contribution our life-saving service would not exist.

There are a variety of ways to support our critical search and rescue service, to learn about your options, check out our get involved page

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