Bases | Philips Search and Rescue Trust

Coverage Area

Available through the emergency 111 call system, our rapid response rescue helicopters bring life-saving equipment, rescue personnel, and trauma-trained intensive care paramedics directly to the patient. Providing timely assistance can reduce disability and improve survival – the sooner resuscitation and treatment begins, the greater the chance of patient recovery.

An experienced professional crew of pilots, paramedics, and crewmen respond in a life and death situation with speed and agility that can make all the difference, with patients able to receive urgent medical treatment whilst en-route to a medical facility. In most instances, rescue helicopters reduce travel time by more than three-quarters in comparison to a road ambulance.

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Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter
TECT Rescue Helicopter
Greenlea Rescue Helicopter
Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter

Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter

The Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter service was founded in 1987 and has touched the lives of more than 13,000 patients.

The Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter services the Waikato, Coromandel and King Country region in the North Island. Providing a 24-hour emergency service, 365 days a year.

Providing a fully-fledged air emergency medical service with the employment of our own full-time experienced Intensive Care Paramedics (ICP), Crewman and Pilots. Our crews offer a diverse range of attributes and experience to our operation. Each member of the team brings a specialist skillset, enhancing the safety and efficiency of rescue missions.

General Enquiries: 0800 11 10 10

PO Box 9308
Waikato Mail Centre
Hamilton 3240

Team

Michelle Maclean

Crewman

Michelle joined the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter in November 2020 as a crewman. Before this, she volunteered her time as a firefighter in the small coastal community of Leigh, north of Auckland. Michelle found that she thrived under the pressure and enjoyed the ever-changing pre-hospital environment, developing her passion for medicine. This motivated her on to complete her university degree in paramedicine and later joined the New Zealand Defence Force as an Airforce Medic.

Diane Laatz

Intensive Care Paramedic

Diane joined the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopters in November 2020. She began her career in 2007 working as an Advanced Life Support paramedic in Johannesburg, South Africa, later moving to Abu Dhabi to work as a flight paramedic for a Search and Rescue Helicopter Service. Diane also volunteered to work on the fixed-wing aeromedical repatriation of conflict victims in the Middle East region.

Rob Michel

Intensive Care Paramedic

Rob’s passion for medicine and aviation started from a young age where he worked as an aircraft dispatcher at his local airport. His career in the medical field began in 2010 when he joined St John in the Hauraki, Coromandel as a volunteer medic. In 2012 he gained full-time employment in Auckland and later becoming an Intensive Care Paramedic in 2015.

Steven Mair

Intensive Care Paramedic

Steve joined the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter in October 2020. Originally from Queensland Australia, Steve began his career volunteering for the Queensland Ambulance Service on Hamilton Island, and four years later became a qualified Critical Care Paramedic working as a casual flight paramedic onboard the RAQC Lifeflight. Steve is excited about the opportunity to work internationally, develop his clinical skills, and bring his family along for the adventure.

Michael Lowe

Intensive Care Paramedic

Mike originally from South Africa, began his career providing advanced pre-hospital medical care as well as training in South Africa for several years. Later moving to Qatar in the Middle East where he worked as a critical care paramedic before making the move to New Zealand.
Mike started his Intensive Care Paramedic journey in the northeastern corner of the North Island – Gisborne. He worked on board the Eastland Rescue Helicopter for 11 months before moving to the mighty Waikato to join the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter crew.

Dave Helliwell

Crewman

Dave began his career as a crewman/paramedic on the ROA Mining rescue helicopter in 2019 working for Garden City Helicopters Aviation. Tasked with covering the West Coast of the South Island he was involved in extensive Search and Rescue work along with primary and inter-hospital transfer jobs. Before this Dave was involved with the St John Ambulance for 11 years. Alongside, 13 years with the Coastguard and spent two and a half years in Antarctica gaining alpine and cold weather experience.

Hugo Goodson

Intensive Care Paramedic

Hugo started out as an ambulance officer in 2003 and progressed through his academic and clinical qualifications to become an Intensive Care Paramedic in 2009. He spent three years in the United Arab Emirates, and four years as a lecturer at the Auckland University of Technology, before transitioning back to doing what he enjoys most – frontline patient care.

Paul Aitken

Pilot

Paul began his piloting career in 2001 when he joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force, he has since worked on several helicopters ranging from the Bell 47 Sioux, Bell UH-1H and NH90. He is a Waikato local and was brought up in Morrinsville. A huge Chiefs and Northern Districts fan, Paul is happy to be back in his hometown.

 

Muir Wallace

Medical Director

Muir is the Medical Director for Philips Search and Rescue Trust (PSRT) and Search and Rescue Services Ltd (SRSL). He is currently an Emergency Physician at Waikato Hospital and has an extensive background in trauma and emergency medicine with a special interest in disaster medicine and preparedness.

Spence Putwain

Pilot

Spence a pilot with a wealth of experience is a familiar face as he previously flew for the Greenlea Rescue Helicopter back in 1989 – 1991. He has been flying since the early 1980s, and since then has been self-employed, and worked for the likes of DOC, Airwork – Wellington and Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopters, Child Flight Fixed Wing, Air New Zealand, and the Northland Emergency Service Trust.

Mo Shaik

Crewman

Mo started with the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter in November 2019. He worked in South Africa on the ambulance for a private service both in the rural and urban environments before getting an opportunity to work for the South African Red Cross Air Mercy Service. His love for aviation grew and being able to combine work that involves making a difference in people’s lives really appealed to him.

Stu Callow

Crewman

Stuart joined the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter in May 2019. His work history includes 8 years as a Blacksmith, 1 year at Skyworks and he volunteered for the New Zealand Fire Service for 3, ½ years. Stu has a passion for aviation and rescue work, he is driven to help people in his community and be a part of such a critical life-saving service.

Dave Jackson

Crewman

Dave joined the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter in May 2019. He recently worked for the St John Ambulance for 12 years as an Emergency Medical Technician/Front-line Ambulance Officer. He was inspired to join the trust because of the rescue team environment and is grateful to be able to make a difference in his community.

Rick Elms

Intensive Care Paramedic

Rick brings a wealth of experience with him upon joining Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter. He spent 21 years with the St John Ambulance in Auckland, qualified as an Intensive Care Paramedic and was then quickly contracted to ASPEN Medical and spent a few years as a flight medic mainly in the Solomon Islands working along-side the Australian Federal Police and Special Tactical Group.

Tony Hohepa

Intensive Care Paramedic

Tony started with the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter in June 2019. He is an Ex-Military man of 12 years, who also specialists in high rope rescues. He became an Intensive Care Paramedic in 2011.

Andy Windle

Intensive Care Paramedic

Andy joined the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter in June 2019. He began his career as a medic in 2006 working for St. John in Mount Maunganui/Tauranga. Andy is excited to begin this new career with the Waikato crew, working alongside professional medics, crewmen and pilots in the aviation field.

Brody Macbeth

Intensive Care Paramedic

Brody Macbeth joined the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter in June 2019. He started working for the St John Ambulance Service in 1998 and served throughout the Bay of Plenty, Auckland and Waikato.  He also has worked for Air Ambulance New Zealand and Australia and Offshore Marine Services.

Loren Haisley

Pilot

Loren Haisley joined the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter in 2006.  Loren has been flying for over 30 years and prior to flying for the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter, he spent 16 years as a US Military Pilot before choosing New Zealand as his adoptive country.

Barry Vincent

Pilot / Training Manager

Barry ‘Bazza’ Vincent joined the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter in 2010. Bazza has over 15 years flying experience and in addition to flying for the TECT Rescue Helicopter base.

Grant Bremner

Pilot

Grant Bremner joined the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter as a pilot in 1987. Almost part of the furniture, Grant still flying rescue missions daily at the Hamilton base, and over 30 years later, he still loves his job and helping people in need.

Dan Harcourt

Pilot

In 2004, Dan Harcourt spent five years as the Base Manager for the Greenlea Rescue Helicopter, prior to joining the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter. He loves working as a rescue pilot – “It’s one of the great flying jobs that doesn’t require extensive time away from home.”

Charlie Beetham

Chief Pilot

Charlie Beetham joined the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter in 2017 after spending six years as a base manager and pilot with the rescue helicopter in Hawkes Bay. Prior to flying rescue helicopters, Charlie spent 14 years in the Royal New Zealand Air Force.

Bill McNeilly

Base Manager/Crewman

Bill McNeilly joined the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter in 2011. Bill has over four years of experience as a helicopter crewman and winch operator. He also holds the role of Base Manager/Crew Trainer, training both his fellow crew and other EMS personnel who are required to work with rescue helicopters.

Simon Burrows

Intensive Care Paramedic

Simon Burrows joined the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter in October 2015 as a crewman. Simon brings over nine years of flying experience from his previous role as St John Paramedic. In May 2019 Simon took up the role of Intensive Care Paramedic.

Sponsors

TECT Rescue Helicopter

The TECT Rescue Helicopter service was founded in 2000 and has touched the lives of more than a thousand patients.

The TECT Rescue Helicopter services the Coastal Bay of Plenty region in the North Island. Providing a 24-hour emergency service, 365 days a year.

Providing a fully-fledged air emergency medical service with the employment of our own full-time experienced Intensive Care Paramedics (ICP), Crewman and Pilots. Our crews offer a diverse range of attributes and experience to our operation. Each member of the team brings a specialist skillset, enhancing the safety and efficiency of rescue missions.

General Enquiries: 0800 11 10 10

PO Box 14077
Tauranga Mail Centre
Tauranga 3143

Team

Muir Wallace

Medical Director

Muir is the Medical Director for Philips Search and Rescue Trust (PSRT) and Search and Rescue Services Ltd (SRSL). He is currently an Emergency Physician at Waikato Hospital and has an extensive background in trauma and emergency medicine with a special interest in disaster medicine and preparedness.

Ben Roborgh

Crewman

Ben joined the TECT Rescue Helicopter crew in November of 2020 as a crewman. Before working for the rescue helicopter, Ben had previously worked as a medic in the Airforce, which he did for seven years. He brings his expertise and knowledge onboard every mission.

Byron Hodge

Crewman

Byron joined the TECT Rescue Helicopter in June 2020 as a crewman. He began his career in the Royal New Zealand Air Force in 2009 as a Composites Technician and retrained as a Helicopter Loadmaster in 2016. Byron was inspired to join the trust after he wanted to be challenged in a different workplace and the role which rescue helicopters fill is truly unique and rewarding.

Felicity Lallier

Intensive Care Paramedic

Felicity joined the TECT Rescue Helicopter in 2021, however she began her career within the Trust in March 2019, working onboard the Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter. She started her ambulance career in the USA and then moved to New Zealand to carry on working as an Intensive Care Paramedic for St John Ambulance for 8 years.

Liam Brettkelly

Base Manager/Pilot

Liam Brettkelly started at the Tauranga-based TECT Rescue Helicopter in 2000 upon inception. With over 20 years flying experience, he loves being based in the beautiful Bay of Plenty doing a job that is interesting, challenging, and highly rewarding.

Todd Dunham

Pilot

Once a qualified Fitter/Turner, Todd Dunham’s spontaneous trial flight in a helicopter spurred him on to follow his dreams of becoming a pilot. He joined the Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter in 2009 as a pilot, but is now based in Tauranga as a pilot for the TECT Rescue Helicopter.

Hendry de Waal

Pilot

Hendry is a familiar face as he previously worked for the Greenlea Rescue Helicopter from May 2008 till Nov 2011. A very experienced pilot, he has flown the Police Eagle Helicopter for almost 2 years and prior to this was flying in Indonesia for 6 years. He is grateful to be able to help people who need the rescue helicopter service.

Iain Gulliford

Crewman

Iain has been working with the TECT Rescue Helicopter as a full-time employee since December 2018. He began his career as a volunteer firefighter and continued to work for Fire and Emergency New Zealand for 15 years. He then became a volunteer crewman onboard the Rotorua Rescue Helicopter at the beginning of 2017.

Dave Harrison

Intensive Care Paramedic

Dave began his career working as an Intensive Care Paramedic for St John Ambulance in 2007. He was based in both Auckland and Tauranga as well as work for 3 years as a paramedicine lecturer at AUT University in Auckland. He feels extremely humbled and privileged to be in a position where you can directly impact people’s lives.

Gillian Gates

Intensive Care Paramedic

Before joining the TECT Rescue Helicopter, Gillian started her career as an Emergency Medical Technician in Auckland with the St John Ambulance Service.  After completing her paramedic degree in 2010, she then became an Intensive Care Paramedic. She is humbled to be in a role that provides immediate and direct service to the community.

Sponsors

Greenlea Rescue Helicopter

The Greenlea Rescue Helicopter service was founded in 1985 and has touched the lives of more than 5,000 patients.

The Greenlea Rescue Helicopter services the Central Plateau and Lakes region across the Central North Island. Providing a 24-hour emergency service, 365 days a year.

Providing a fully-fledged air emergency medical service with the employment of our own full-time experienced Intensive Care Paramedics (ICP), Crewman and Pilots. Our crews offer a diverse range of attributes and experience to our operation. Each member of the team brings a specialist skillset, enhancing the safety and efficiency of rescue missions.

General Enquiries: 0800 11 10 10

PO Box 1655
Taupo 3551

Team

Muir Wallace

Medical Director

Muir is the Medical Director for Philips Search and Rescue Trust (PSRT) and Search and Rescue Services Ltd (SRSL). He is currently an Emergency Physician at Waikato Hospital and has an extensive background in trauma and emergency medicine with a special interest in disaster medicine and preparedness.

Simon Miller

Pilot

Growing up around aviation and the rural way of life has brought Simon over 20+ years’ experience in the aviation industry. He worked as a helicopter support crew for three years, shortly after joining New Zealand Agricultural performing commercial work across the Coromandel and Waikato regions from 2000 – 2006. Simon has spent the last 14 years of his life operating as a pilot in Papua New Guinea doing everything from offshore support to mountain top operations.

Nigel Bryant

Intensive Care Paramedic

Nigel joined the Greenlea Rescue Helicopter in April 2019. He began his paramedicine career in South Africa in 1990, he has since then worked all around the world – Botswana, Namibia, East Timor, Solomon Islands, and Australia.  Nigel understands that aeromedical work requires specialized skills and knowledge which the trust recognises with the employment of flight paramedics.

Bernie McQueen

Pilot

Bernie joined the Greenlea Rescue Helicopter in October 2019. He began his pilot training in 1998 and started commercially flying helicopters in 2002. He first started working for Wanganui Aero in Taihape but then started his own base for Peter Robb in 2003 and did that for 7 years. In 2010 he left NZ for a touring role in Papua New Guinea and since then has been contracting throughout NZ for all kinds of helicopter operations.

Aeron Mellish

Crewman

Aeron joined the Greenlea Rescue Helicopter in February 2020. Beginning her career in 2012 for the Royal New Zealand Air Force as a Helicopter Loadmaster. Aeron enjoys being a part of a close-knit team with like-minded individuals, in a challenging yet rewarding environment.

Nat Every

Base Manager/Pilot

Nat Every joined the Greenlea Rescue Helicopter in 2010.  With over 15 years of flying experience, Nat enjoys working with a great bunch of dedicated, passionate and enthusiastic people within the Taupo community.

Mark Bond

Crewman

Bondy, a long-time volunteer for the Greenlea Rescue Helicopter recently gained fulltime employment with the Trust in December 2018. He was inspired to work for the trust after crewing on a helicopter for Police Search and Rescue, he knew he wanted to continue working in an industry he loved.

Rob Keating

Intensive Care Paramedic

Rob previously worked in South Africa as a Flight Paramedic from 1995 – 2003, then immigrated to New Zealand in 2008. He then went on to work for the St John Ambulance in Rotorua, Whangarei, and Taupo. Rob is passionate about aviation medicine, he feels privileged to be apart of significant community service.

Tony More

Intensive Care Paramedic

Tony joined the Greenlea Rescue Helicopter in April 2019. He previously worked for the St John Ambulance for 15 years and in that time completed a lot of helicopter work within the Central Plateau District. The opportunity to take a fulltime position with the Greenlea Rescue Helicopter was too good to overlook, Tony has enjoyed every minute so far.

Libbie Faith

Crewman

Libbie joined the Greenlea Rescue Helicopter in July 2019. Libbie previously worked on an offshore oil rig off in Australia for 8 years. She has a passion for helping people and wanted to further her knowledge by moving into the aeromedical side of emergency services and learn a new skill set as a Crewman.

Pete Masters

Pilot

A long-time pilot for the Greenlea Rescue Helicopter, Pete Masters joined in 1990. Pete is a very experienced helicopter pilot, prior to joining he flew helicopters commercially and has been in the industry for over 40+ years.

 

 

 

Sponsors

Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter

The Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter service was founded in 1991 and has touched the lives of more than nine thousand patients and counting.

The Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter services the Manawatu and Whanganui region in the North Island. Providing a 24-hour emergency service, 365 days a year.

Providing a fully-fledged air emergency medical service with the employment of our own full-time experienced Intensive Care Paramedics (ICP), Crewman and Pilots. Our crews offer a diverse range of attributes and experience to our operation. Each member of the team brings a specialist skillset, enhancing the safety and efficiency of rescue missions.

General Enquiries: 0800 11 10 10

PO Box 370
Palmerston North Central
Palmerston North 4440

Team

Muir Wallace

Medical Director

Muir is the Medical Director for Philips Search and Rescue Trust (PSRT) and Search and Rescue Services Ltd (SRSL). He is currently an Emergency Physician at Waikato Hospital and has an extensive background in trauma and emergency medicine with a special interest in disaster medicine and preparedness.

Schalk-Willem van der Merwe

Intensive Care Paramedic

Schalk joined the Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter in March 2021, but started his emergency response career in 1996, volunteering at the local Fire Department. He qualified as a Paramedic in 2003 and completed his Degree in 2009. As a Paramedic, Schalk has had the opportunity to work all over the world. Before joining the rescue helicopter crew, Schalk was working in the Middle East for Hamad Medical Corporation. He feels honoured to be onboard the Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter and to be able to help patients in need.

Adam McKenna

Pilot

Adam’s aviation career began in 2007, working for Rotor Work Ltd. With over 10 years of experience under his belt, flying around the greater Waikato and King Country areas, Adam joined the Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter crew in November of 2020 as a pilot. His passion for helping others and positively contributing to patient’s experiences during dark times is what drives Adam in his current role.

 

Leigh Douglas

Crewman

Leigh joined the Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter in November 2020 as a crewman. She began her career as a medic in 2012 when she decided to join the New Zealand Defence Force. This role provided her with a wide range of experiences practicing aviation medicine, fixed and rotary wing aeromedical evacuation, search and rescue, emergency medicine, and primary health care.

Rene Schmidt

Intensive Care Paramedic

Rene joined the Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter in October 2020 as an Intensive Care Paramedic. Rene started his career in the medical industry in 1987 working for the Red Cross and St John service in Germany. In 2009 he moved to New Zealand and continued working for St John in Taihape, Rangitikei District, and after two years he relocated to Whanganui with St John.

Mark MacKay

Pilot

Mark joined the Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter in November 2020 as a pilot. Mark brings a wealth of experience with him after being in the aviation industry for over 20+  years. Starting his piloting career in 1996 and has since been able to work in multiple locations around the world – Australia, Canada, Papua New Guinea, and Indonesia.

Ben Riley

Intensive Care Paramedic

Ben joined the Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter in October 2020. He began his medical journey in 2015 as a St John ambulance officer in Levin, Dannevirke and Palmerston North. Prior to this Ben worked within the Military as a medic for the New Zealand Defence Force for two years and as a Geologist from 2012 – 2013 in Queensland and Wellington.

Ross Murrell

Pilot

Ross began his career as an agricultural pilot in New Zealand in 1992, leading on to spraying in Australia. He is new to full-time emergency medical service flying but has experience in search and rescue and medevac missions. Ross was inspired to join the Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter as he was seeking a change in the type of work he was performing. He was offered the opportunity to give back to the local Manawatu/Whanganui community.

Chris Moody

Chief Operating Officer

Chris Moody comes from a military background with 29 years as a commissioned officer. He first joined the Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter in 2001 as a rescue helicopter pilot. After three years of service he left, only to return in 2012 as Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter Base Manager.

Lance Burns

Pilot

When Lance Burns first joined Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter in 2012, he’d already had six years of flying helicopters under his belt. He enjoys the wide range of skills being a rescue helicopter pilot requires and having the opportunity to help people when they really need it.

Graeme Spiers

Base Manager/Crewman

After seven years of volunteer crewing for the Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter, Graeme ‘Spearszy’ Spiers has become a full-time member of the crew. With 28 years experience as a firefighter in Command and Control and Motor Vehicle extraction techniques, Graeme brings a unique skill set to his role.

Neil Chappell

Crewman

Neil started with the Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter in April 2019, he trained and operated as a Crewman in the RNZAF base at Ohakea – served for 12 years, 5 years as a crewman on both Agusta A109 and NH90 helicopters.

 

Sponsors

We Need You

Your support ensures rescue helicopters are available to your community.
Your rescue helicopter can be airborne in 10 minutes and, in a life or death situation, this speed and agility can make all the difference. The timely assistance that rescue helicopters provide can reduce disability and improve survival – the sooner treatment begins, the greater chance of patient recovery.

We are partially funded by a government contract with National Ambulance Sector Office (NASO). We rely heavily on the generosity of sponsors and the community to help fund the shortfall that allows us to be rescue ready 24/7, 365 days of the year. This crucial financial support ensures our rescue helicopter can continue to bring life-saving equipment, rescue personnel, and intensive care paramedics directly to the patient.

Without your support, your rescue helicopter would not be able to remain operational on a 24/7, 365 day a year basis. This could mean a serious delay in people being rescued or transported to hospital for urgent treatment.

Support your rescue helicopter and make a lifesaving difference.

Saving Lives, Together.

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