About Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter

For over 50 years, the life-saving Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter service has assisted the Greater Auckland, outer islands and Coromandel communities.

As one of New Zealand’s most trusted charities and an essential medical service, we are reliant on the community’s goodwill and support to help keep us operational 24 hours of the day, 365 days of the year. Through this care, we can assist patients and their loved ones in their greatest time of need.

The Auckland based Westpac Rescue Helicopter is staffed full-time by a highly experienced flight crew consisting of pilots, paramedics and crewmen, and operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. In addition to this, the Pre-Hospital and Retrieval Medicine (PHRM) service complements the team with specialist trauma physicians to deliver the best possible standards of patient care.

2020 is the Auckland Rescue Helicopter service’s 50th year in operation. This is a milestone for the service, which started the world’s first ever civilian surf rescue helicopter service back in 1970. Since then, the service has been tasked to over 20,000 missions and is internationally recognised for its pioneering work in saving lives.

Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter origin dates back to the establishment of the Rescue Helicopter Service in 1970. That summer, the Auckland Surf Life Saving Association launched a world first in ocean rescue with the provision of the Hiller 12E helicopter.

This aircraft was used specifically for rescues from the surf on Auckland’s west coast beaches, and the use of the helicopter for this purpose was a typical demonstration of kiwi ingenuity showing the way!

In 1990, a Charitable Trust was formed with Trustees selected from the community and business sectors of the greater Auckland region. The primary aim of the Trust is to provide and develop a highly efficient aeromedical service for the benefit of the community at large.

Today, the service utilises two state-of-the-art Leonardo AW-169 helicopters, one BK-117 helicopter and one Rapid Response vehicle to assist with local medical missions close by to our home at Ardmore Airbase.

International Award

ARHT’s outstanding contribution was recognised by the world “Association of Aeromedical Services” in 2000 when we were presented with an award for 10,000 accident-free missions.

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