Local film raises vital funds  


For passionate film-maker John Ball, creating something good from his friend Darrell’s cycling accident was an important journey for both of them. 

For years Darrell cycled the Tongariro River Trail regularly without incident. But on January 19th 2019, that all changed.  

“On the day of the accident, a mate was cycling behind me on a regular bike but couldn’t keep up because I was on my new e-bike. So we decided if he went first, I’d ride at his speed,” explained Darrell. 

Catching his handlebar on a branch while cycling the zig-zags of the trail, Darrell’s bike flipped sending the cyclist headfirst over his bike hitting his neck on a tree trunk.  

Darrell’s remote location meant the only option to recover him was the Greenlea Rescue Helicopter. 

“I understand it took a while before they could stabilise me and winch me up in a stretcher to the helicopter.” 

For someone whose favourite hobbies involved getting outdoors and being active, the accident turned Darrell’s life upside down. His injuries have now left him paralysed and in a wheelchair. 

Now, the story of his accident, rescue and recovery is the subject of Pukawa filmmaker John Ball’s new documentary Man in Wheelchair — It Was Just a Matter of Fate. 

“I met Darrell in 2008 when we were riding with the local cycling club, and I visited him regularly after his accident. One day I said, “you’ve got time on your hands, and I’m retired, why don’t we make a film and tell your story,” say’s John 

John himself has also experienced the skill of the Greenlea Rescue Helicopter crew, being rescued while hiking the rocky summit of Mount Ruapehu, and getting caught in a terrifying rockfall. 

Both men are thankful they could give back to the service that was there for them when they needed it.  

They have donated the proceeds from the special screening of the documentary held at the Great Lake Centre in Taupo in June, to the Greenlea Rescue Helicopter.  An amazing $2,800 was raised on the night! 

We love amazing supporters like Darrell and John.  If you would like to fundraise for your rescue helicopter, we’d love to help you! Please get in touch at [email protected] or call 0800 11 10 10.