Tri across NZ for Charity | Philips Search and Rescue Trust

Tri across NZ for Charity


It was late in the afternoon when Kieran McPherson was out working his summer job, felling trees on a block in Piarere situated on the outskirts of Lake Karapiro. Out earning his keep in his late teens chopping firewood, when a freak accident occurred. A fallen tree moved and as he escaped its path another tree was brought down across his back leaving the professional off-road triathlete unable to move.

Rescued by the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter on the 10th of April 2012, Kieran’s tree-felling accident has not let it define him. He ended up fracturing his L3 vertebra – the third lumbar spine vertebra, located in the middle of the lumbar spine. With no road access, time was not on McPherson’s side, without the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter his life would be very different today.

It’s thanks to the life-saving rescue helicopter service that Kieran is still alive today, he was airlifted to Waikato Hospital in HZQ – the Bell222 by Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter pilot – Dan Harcourt.

With a long road to recovery after fracturing his lower back, dreams of competing in the World Champs Triathlon were put on hold. Kieran was more determined than ever and made an incredible recovery within 6 short months. Qualifying for the World Champs Triathlon that took place at the end of October in 2012.  Later that year after months of rehabilitation he went on to win his first Age Group World Championship title held in Auckland, New Zealand.

Kieran is now ready to take on the length of New Zealand. He will ‘Tri Across NZ’ where he’ll do one triathlon per day to cover the length of both NZ islands — equal to 10 iron distance triathlons. In the hope of completing his mission, Kieran will have to be traveling at least 150-160km per day through running, swimming, and biking. In two weeks, he will cover over 2000-km from Bluff to Cape Reinga, to raise money for the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter, TECT Rescue Helicopter, Greenlea Rescue Helicopter, and Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter – a life-saving rescue helicopter service that helped provide him with a second chance.

It’s thanks to the swift response from the Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter that allowed McPherson to fully recover and pursue his passion. Kieran hold’s this charity close to his heart, “without that rescue helicopter, my life would be very different today”. He hopes his efforts will raise money and awareness for this critical operation. Help support Kieran in his journey to take on the ‘Length of New Zealand’ and donate to Kieran’s Give-a-little Page and stay up to date with his progress on his website.



Media Liaison: Marketing Manager, Sharni Weir [email protected]

If you have specific enquiries, please email these questions directly to Sharni Weir for reply [email protected]




Background: Philips Search & Rescue Trust (PSRT) is the charity responsible for fundraising and promotion of the North Island’s largest pool of community helicopters. PSRT was founded in 1985 after an endowment by Philips New Zealand Limited to mark a light aircraft accident near Turangi in which two Philips personnel lost their lives.

Encompassing a fleet of rescue helicopters and fixed-wing planes, the service provides air health and rescue services free of charge to the public on a no-fault basis. The rapid response is powered by an expert crew of pilots, crewmen, paramedics, doctors, flight nurses, and specialist crew. In a life and death situation, it is this speed and agility that can make all the difference, with patients able to receive medical treatment whilst en route to a medical facility.

Philips Search & Rescue Trust market and fundraise for:

  • Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter – Waikato, King Country, Coromandel
  • TECT Rescue Helicopter – Coastal Bay of Plenty region
  • Greenlea Rescue Helicopter – Central Plateau, Lakes region
  • Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter – Manawatu, Whanganui
  • Westpac Air Ambulance (Fixed Wing) – Nationwide


For further information visit or contact your media liaison.


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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