Meet the team

Our Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter team is made up of a dedicated group of Operational and Support staff.

Within their own individual departments, and as a whole, they work together to provide a world-class air rescue service for the communities of Greater Auckland, its outer islands, and the Coromandel Peninsula.

Simon Tompkins

Chairman

Board

Simon Tompkins

Simon joined us as a board member in October 2018 and was appointed as Chairman in June 2019. He has enjoyed working for almost 40 years in the finance industry. Initially he was in an accounting role, followed by 12 years in investment banking, before shifting into an investment management role at Alvarium Wealth (NZ) Limited where he has been for the last 23 years. He is currently a Shareholder, Director and Chief Financial Officer for this prestigious company.

Flying is one of his passions. Simon has flown helicopters since the early 2000’s. In more recent times, he has enjoyed flying fixed wing aircraft as well having obtained a private pilot’s license for planes five years ago. In his spare time, Simon enjoys skiing and golf as well as spending time with a growing number of grandchildren.

Jane Sheetz

Trustee

Board

Jane Sheetz

Jane says she is, “honoured, passionate and motivated” about making a meaningful contribution to an organisation she believes, “provides a unique and very valuable service to the people of Greater Auckland and beyond.”

Jane joined the board in September 2020, applying her professional expertise in supporting commercial partnerships, sponsorship and fundraising across commercial enterprises, philanthropic and not-for-profit organisations, government agencies, academic institutions and communities.

Jane sees her role as building a family of businesses and community partnerships, creating opportunities for collaboration and investment, and ensuring positive outcomes and returns for all stakeholders in the life-saving work of the Trust. She also enjoys opportunities to use her skills in strategy, relationship and stakeholder management.

Scott Rice

Trustee

Board

Scott Rice

Scott Rice is the Managing Director of Quantum Events Ltd which owns and operates the nationwide Banana Boat New Zealand Ocean Swim Series and an annual international swimming event in Fiji called Ocean Swim Fiji.

Over 16 years in event management has armed Scott with a wealth of sponsorship, marketing and event operational expertise and seen him collaborate with some of New Zealand’s most notable brands. Scott is also the founder and owner of the recently launched craft beer brand Puhoi Beer and a commentator and presenter for Swimming New Zealand’s five national competitions.  

Scott says he is, “excited to be involved and contributing to an organisation that helps so many people in need”.

Scott joined the board in September 2020.

Nuwanthie Samarakone

Trustee

Board

Nuwanthie Samarakone

An experienced international business executive and company director, Nuwanthie or Nuwi stands for values-based impact that creates better lives.

"In today's world, it's key," Nuwi says, "I am thrilled to help make a difference. Aotearoa is beautiful, but unpredictable - our rescue missions impact our community and save lives."

With a health management background, Nuwi’s worked across both the public and private health sectors in Aotearoa New Zealand. Nuwi’s founding business, ICE, is a consultancy firm specialising in designing, delivering and developing schemes for organisations looking to build early talent pipelines. In little more than a decade, she has grown the business from Aotearoa New Zealand to include six countries covering off 24 markets across Asia Pacific. Some of the clients ICE partner with are FTSE 500, Forbes top 100 brands and Government Agencies in the Asia Pacific region.

Building and scaling businesses, focusing on the customer journey and People & Culture, are just some of her many strengths.

Nuwi joined the board in May 2021.

James Tayler

Pilot / Deputy Flight Operations Manager

Pilots

James Tayler

James initially worked as an engineer on nuclear submarines in the Royal Navy before retraining as a navy helicopter pilot. After nearly 30 years flying a variety of military aircraft for the British and New Zealand navies, he moved to the civilian EMS world, initially flying the Sikorsky S76 before joining ARHT in 2015.

In his spare time, James likes to ride his motorbike (carefully). In the winter he enjoys skiing and during the warmer weather spending time on the water, fishing, paddleboarding and kayaking.

Karl Taylor

Chief Paramedic

Paramedics

Karl Taylor

Karl joined the Trust in 2011, having worked as a St John paramedic for some 12 years. Since joining the Trust, Karl has received winch training and was serving in the unique role of Crewman/Intensive Care Paramedic before being appointed to Chief Paramedic in 2016.

Karl enjoys the social aspect of his job helping people. He is proud to be working for an organisation that’s dedicated to saving lives.

Karl’s wife Emma is also an intensive care paramedic and currently works part-time as a clinical coach.  Outside of work, a lot of the couple’s free time revolves around their children. Karl also enjoys fishing, tramping, and living a healthy lifestyle.

Mark (Tinny) Cannell

Chief Air Crew Officer

Air Crew Officers

Mark (Tinny) Cannell

Tinny joined ARHT in 2004 as a Crewman. Prior to this he served with the NZ Airforce for 14 years, conducting operations in various theatres.

On his days off, Tinny enjoys the outdoors, especially fishing with his daughter, Charlea.

Christopher Denny

Medical Director of Auckland PHRM

Phrm Doctors

Christopher Denny

Chris joined the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust in September 2011 to serve as the inaugural Auckland Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) Medical Director. The service is now referred to as Pre-Hospital and Retrieval Medicine (PHRM). Chris says it is a privilege to work with our ARHT team to develop a clinical service at the vanguard of early, safe, optimal patient care.

Prior to moving to New Zealand, Chris worked in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as an academic Emergency Physician, Trauma Team Leader, Transport Medicine Physician and Urban Search and Rescue Team Doctor.

Chris also works as a Senior Medical Officer in Emergency Medicine at the Auckland City Hospital, and as a Clinical Team Leader for the New Zealand Medical Assistance Team. Chris and his family are grateful to live in the beautiful region of Auckland.

Shaan Hulena

General Manager

Support

Shaan Hulena

Shaan was appointed General Manager of ARHT in June 2020. He was previously Corporate Fundraising Manager, a position he held for five years. Shaan has been with the Trust since 2009 and in his spare time he’s either coaching three of his children’s rugby teams or chasing workups in the Hauraki Gulf.

Shaan’s goal is to not only achieve but to exceed industry standards for the fundraising sector, striving to achieve the very best as an organisation, in line with our operational objective of providing the very best patient care possible.

Rob Arrowsmith

Pilot

Pilots

Rob Arrowsmith

Rob joined ARHT in 2010, after 13 years in the NZ Air Force flying helicopters throughout NZ, East Timor, New Caledonia and Fiji.

Military flying had many exciting moments for him, but the most rewarding were the infrequent medical / SAR jobs, which he gets to do daily at ARHT.

When the sun is shining, Rob is able to watch a lot of what the clinicians do for the patients – the complexity of the scenes that they’re working within while keeping a sharp mind and remaining compassionate is something he finds awe inspiring. When the weather is bad, he feels fortunate to have generous supporters which allow the crew to maintain the ability to fly through the weather on instruments only, a capability he is very passionate about. Rob says the only downside of the job is getting around the region so quickly by chopper, only to then get in your car and slowly crawl through the traffic afterwards!

Paul Robinson

Pilot/Training Manager

Pilots

Paul Robinson

Paul joined ARHT in 2011.  He has a background in EMS, flying an S76 in Northland, and working on Police operations around Auckland.  He is a Flight Instructor, NVG Instructor and one of our ARHT Flight Examiners.

Paul looks after the Training Department, which involves making sure everyone is up to speed – a task he says is made easier by the high calibre of our crew! He enjoys the challenge of the job and considers it a privilege to work at ARHT.

Paul is happily married with twin teenage daughters. He enjoys time off when he can get it.

Johnny Stanton

Pilot

Pilots

Johnny Stanton

Johnny joined ARHT from the Royal New Zealand Navy, where he flew and instructed on the Seasprite. The highlight of his military career was anti-piracy and counter-narcotic operations off the Horn of Africa and Somalia when on exchange with the Royal Navy flying the Lynx.

New to EMS, Johnny enjoys the real difference each mission can make to our patients.  Outside work, he enjoys racket sports, the TV programme 'Suits', and hanging out with his family.

Rob Anderson

Pilot

Pilots

Rob Anderson

Rob has been employed with ARHT since 2009.

He has flown in Auckland and overseas, including Canada and the Arctic tundra, as well as Fiji.

He enjoys spending his spare time with his wife and young boy.

Jason Haggitt

Pilot

Pilots

Jason Haggitt

Jason has been flying for over 30 years but first soloed as a 16 year old. Jason's 14 year RNZAF career, mainly on the Bell Huey helicopter, included operations in Antarctica, the Pacific Islands and East Timor.  During this time he also spent two years on exchange with the Royal Navy and flew Sea King Commando helicopters at sea, and in Bosnia and Central America.  Jason transferred to the Royal New Zealand Navy to fly the Seasprite in 2003 and undertook various seaborne operations including in the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman. After nearly 30 years in Defence, he left to spend a couple of years flying the Eagle helicopter for the New Zealand Police, and occasionally for the Wellington and Taranaki rescue helicopters, before joining ARHT in July 2019.

Jason is really looking forward to coming to grips with the new AW169 and helping turn this exciting platform into a real step-up in rescue capability for the people of Auckland and upper North Island.

Outside of flying, he enjoys keelboat sailing, alpine skiing, old cars and motorsport. He lives on the North Shore with his partner and two children.

Norm McDonald

Pilot

Pilots

Norm McDonald

Norm joined ARHT in July 2019.

He is an ex-military pilot who served in both the Royal Navy and the Royal New Zealand Navy. Norman has flown for Emergency Medical Services and Search and Rescues in the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Australia and New Zealand. He has flown a variety of aircraft such as the Sea King, Bell 412, S76 and AW139. Norm has also flown oil and gas support operations in countries such as Nicaragua, Tanzania and Malaysia.

In his spare time, Norm enjoys riding his Royal Enfield motorbike as well as walking his three Griffin dogs with his wife and three daughters.

Steve Barham

Pilot

Pilots

Steve Barham

Steve has been flying helicopters for over 35 years in Airforce, Navy, Police and Rescue roles.

Having passed his wings course, Steve undertook a three year exchange with the Royal Navy flying the anti-submarine variant of the Seaking, operating from both shore bases and aircraft carriers.

Steve then returned to New Zealand and took up the Flight Commander role on various ships of the Royal New Zealand Navy.

Steve left the Navy to fly both the Westpac Rescue and New Zealand Police helicopters.

He is very much looking forward to returning to the challenges of Emergency Medical Service work and flying the AW169.

Outside of work, his interests involve all things nautical and he enjoys getting out on the water whenever possible.

Steve is married to Heather and together they have raised two daughters who are currently enjoying tertiary study outside of Auckland. He joined the ARHT team in July 2019.

Aaron Knight

Air Crew Officer / Co-Pilot

Pilots

Aaron Knight

Aaron joined ARHT in 2015. He has always had a huge passion for flying from a young age. He gained his CPL(H) in 2008,  completed CPL(A) in 2015 and has a single pilot IFR rating.

Aaron has flown helicopters in far north Queensland Australia in the Torres Straits, on extensive over water operations and flown out of a remote community in northern BC Canada, on Oil and Gas support, as well as wild animal tracking and recovery.

Simon Owen

Air Crew Officer / Co-Pilot

Pilots

Simon Owen

Simon joined ARHT in April 2016 as a Crewman/Co-Pilot. Before this, he spent the last four years as a helicopter pilot in Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory, Australia, predominantly conducting a variety of land management tasks, including aerial prescribed burning, firefighting, feral animal control and flora surveys.

Simon’s goal was always to become an EMS helicopter pilot and he enjoys the combination of the practical and procedural aspect of the role. Outside work, he enjoys bush and beach walks with his wife Sophie, and cruising on his motorbike.

Richard Selby

Air Crew Officer / Co-Pilot

Pilots

Richard Selby

Richard joined ARHT in 2012 as crewman/co-pilot. With a background in sailing, originally qualified as a Naval Architect and having worked as a captain of super yachts for over 10 years, aviation arrived later in life.

Working a part of a small dedicated team is certainly the highlight of his role with the rescue helicopter, and being involved across both the medical and aviation disciplines keeps the job exciting.

Vasya Makhinko

Air Crew Officer / Co-Pilot

Pilots

Vasya Makhinko

Having grown up on an Air Force base, surrounded by military aircraft, it was Vasya’s lifelong dream to become a pilot. He fulfilled this dream aged 22 and has been flying for over a decade, working in a variety of settings. This has included medical evacuation missions, aerial photography, filming and anti-poaching work. His work has taken him from the plains of Africa to the sub-freezing temperatures of Canada’s Arctic Circle.

A near-fatal car accident when he was 19 placed him in a critical condition and in need of an emergency rescue flight. This event inspired his desire to become a member of the Emergency Medical Services and use his abilities and passion to help and care for the people in need, as he was cared for, which he finds incredibly rewarding.

He joined ARHT towards the end of 2017 and really enjoys the challenging aspects of the job and working with such a dedicated group of professionals.  

When not on base, he enjoys New Zealand's great outdoors, especially snowboarding and hiking, watching good action movies, and a game of paintball.

Glenn Silva

Air Crew Officer / Co-Pilot

Pilots

Glenn Silva

Glenn joined ARHT in July 2020. He was introduced to aviation at a very young age and always dreamed of becoming an EMS Pilot. He has spent the last seven years flying throughout the Northern Territory and North Queensland carrying out remote and offshore charter as well as aerial shooting and spotting. Prior to his career as a pilot, Glenn worked as a Rescue and Aircrew Officer on various SAR and EMS contracts with the RAAF and the Ambulance Service Of New South Wales. Now he gets to enjoy the best of both worlds as a Crewman/Co-Pilot.

Outside of work, Glenn enjoys fitness, various outdoor pursuits and family time with his partner Julia and two young boys Hamish and Liam.

Casey Drum

Intensive Care Paramedic

Paramedics

Casey Drum

Casey joined ARHT in May 2016, after seven years at St John Ambulance. Ten years prior to that he was leading white water expedition rafting trips internationally.

Casey enjoys the challenge of combining rescue and pre-hospital medicine. On his days off he loves spending time with his two sons at the beach or in the caravan. Other interests include making furniture, beekeeping and surfing.

Russell (Rusty) Clark

Intensive Care Paramedic

Pilots

Russell (Rusty) Clark

Rusty has worked at ARHT since 2011, and been an Intensive Care Paramedic for 11 years.

He loves the challenges and rewarding nature of the pre-hospital environment.

Rusty enjoys spending his spare time with his soulmate, Kateshe, and their two boys.

Marcel Driessen

Intensive Care Paramedic

Paramedics

Marcel Driessen

Marcel’s connection with the ARHT began in the mid 1990’s on a casual / informal basis well before full-time medical crewing. Since the early 2000's he has worked in a more permanent role for the Trust.

Marcel's background is with St John initially as a volunteer in Tairua and then eventually as an Intensive Care Paramedic in Auckland in the mid 1990's. For Marcel, the never knowing - where, when and what the challenges of the job will be on a daily basis (from helping to deliver a baby in the helicopter to providing lifesaving treatment for a car crash or medical patient or rescuing a tramper out of the bush) is what he thrives on. The camaraderie between the crews and working within high pressure environments also add to his satisfaction of helping others out in their time of need.

As a ‘Westie’, Marcel enjoys the various opportunities that the Waitakere bush and West Coast beaches offer.

Russell Clarke

Intensive Care Paramedic

Paramedics

Russell Clarke

Russell joined ARHT in 2009.

He previously worked in the New Zealand Air Force, where he served as a paramedic for 20 years.

Ross Aitken

Intensive Care Paramedic

Paramedics

Ross Aitken

Ross has worked in the ambulance service for 14 years and joined ARHT in 2011. He loves working in this industry and says that combining medicine with rescue work is what makes this people-centred job so fantastic.

Rob Gemmell

Intensive Care Paramedic

Paramedics

Rob Gemmell

Rob has been an ambulance Paramedic for 18 years and has been flying in EMS helicopters for the last 10 years.

He has been serving the greater Auckland region with the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust for the past 7 years and says the most rewarding part of his career is putting the patient first and engaging in continual innovation.

Chris (Deacs) Deacon

Intensive Care Paramedic

Paramedics

Chris (Deacs) Deacon

'Deacs' has been on the ARHT team since 1997 and worked as an ambulance officer for St John beforehand.

Chris was recognised in June 2012 as having completed 2,000 rescue missions.

Stefan Gabor

Intensive Care Paramedic / Clinical Educator

Paramedics

Stefan Gabor

Stefan has a lifesaving background, joining Karekare Surf Lifesaving Club when he was 15 years old. Before joining the 'crazy ARHT crew' he was employed by St John Ambulance Service as an Intensive Care Paramedic. This role he held for almost 20 years, where he performed a variety of duties.

Stefan has been a part of the ARHT team for eight years now, five as a part-time Intensive Care paramedic and three juggling that with his other role as Clinical Educator.

He is married with two young kids who keep him busy. When he is allowed out he loves to go fishing.

Josh Sanders

Intensive Care Paramedic

Paramedics

Josh Sanders

Prior to joining the ARHT team in June 2019, Josh has enjoyed six years service with St John with the last three and a half years working as an Intensive Care Paramedic.

He is most looking forward to the challenge of taking his new role into more difficult situations with the additions of remote environments, patient accessibility and operating out of an aircraft.

Josh's interests outside of work are pistol shooting, hunting, hiking and tramping.

Andreas Schold

Intensive Care Paramedic

Paramedics

Andreas Schold

Andreas worked for 12 years frontline ambulance, predominantly in West Auckland, and worked for the Northland Emergency Services Trust (NEST) for one year before joining the Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter team in June 2019.

He says he is most looking forward to joining a professional and progressive team. In his own time, as much as time allows, he enjoys looking after his health and fitness. That said, with three young children, he doesn't have much time to spare!

Max Cawley

Air Crew Officer

Air Crew Officers

Max Cawley

Max was previously a Helicopter Crewman in both the Royal New Zealand Air Force and Royal New Zealand Navy and also spent several years working in Australia for Boeing Defence as an Aircrewman Instructor.

He is enjoying his role where every day is different and knowing he is part of a team, both in the air and on the ground, that is devoted to providing medical assistance to those that need it.

Max enjoys spending time with his family, loves to fish, golf and also confesses he has a ‘mild’ addiction to online FPS gaming!

Max and his fiancé Paula have three kids and two cats between them!

Max joined ARHT in July 2019.

Max was previously a Helicopter Crewman in both the Royal New Zealand Air Force and Royal New Zealand Navy and also spent several years working in Australia for Boeing Defence as an Aircrewman Instructor.

He is enjoying his role where every day is different and knowing he is part of a team, both in the air and on the ground, that is devoted to providing medical assistance to those that need it.

Max enjoys spending time with his family, loves to fish, golf and also confesses he has a ‘mild’ addiction to online FPS gaming!

Max and his fiancé Paula have three kids and two cats between them!

Max joined ARHT in July 2019.

Callan Carn-Bennett

Air Crew Officer

Air Crew Officers

Callan Carn-Bennett

Callan has enjoyed a number of emergency service roles including working as an ambulance officer for 18 years. He still works on a casual basis for St John as an emergency medical technician. Callam also volunteers with the Silverdale Fire Brigade, having done so for 16 years, and has worked on a number of different rescue helicopters in the central North Island region. Joining our team in August 2019, Callan says he's most looking forward to working with the AW169s, continuing to help people and working alongside medical staff he's shared time with on road ambulances over the years.

Callan's interests outside of work are fishing, swimming, and hanging out with his wife Erin and daughter on the Hibiscus Coast, which is home these days. Callan also loves a good BBQ!

Geoff Polglase

Air Crew Officer

Air Crew Officers

Geoff Polglase

There are two things you leave the defence force with, aviation experience and a nickname.

Meet Geoff “Polly” Polglase.

Joining ARHT with previous experience on the venerable UH-1 Iroquios as a Helicopter Crewman, Polly served with the Air Force in New Zealand, Antarctica, Solomon Islands and East Timor. After leaving the Air Force, he embarked on a nine year career in real estate. Polly recently set up his own real estate company based in Hobsonville, a place he has called home since he was 17 years old.

From hot climates to the coldest, Polly says flying is in his blood. He joined our team in September 2021.

Tony Smith

PHRM Doctor and Medical Director, St John

Phrm Doctors

Tony Smith

Tony joined ARHT in 2011 as one of the PHRM doctors. He is also an Intensive Care Medicine Specialist at Auckland City Hospital and is the Medical Director for St John Ambulance in New Zealand.

Tony has been with the PHRM team since it began and is very passionate about improving emergency care to people throughout New Zealand.

Married with two adult daughters, Tony is keen on cycling, fishing and gardening during the few periods he is not at work.

Dean Bunbury

PHRM Doctor

Phrm Doctors

Dean Bunbury

Dean's association with the Westpac Rescue helicopter began through Surf Life Saving in the late 1980’s.  Since that time, he has worked for a variety of search and rescue, pre-hospital and aeromedical organisations in a number of countries.

Originally from Auckland, Dean has now returned home and works predominantly as a Paediatric Anaesthetist at Middlemore Hospital (CMDHB) and with PHRM.

Emma Batistich

PHRM Doctor (Acting PHRM Education Lead)

Phrm Doctors

Emma Batistich

Emma joined ARHT in November 2015 as a PHRM doctor. She also works as an Emergency Medicine Specialist at Auckland City Hospital.

Emma loves working with the ARHT team and all the challenges of taking the resuscitation room to the beach/roadside/paddock. Outside of work she enjoys travel adventures, cycling, crossfit and SCUBA diving when feeling energetic, and knitting/Netflix when some blobbing is needed.

Alana Harper

FACEM (PHRM Lead Safety, Quality and Training)

Phrm Doctors

Alana Harper

Alana is an Emergency Medicine Specialist at Auckland City Hospital. She has been a PHRM Doctor with ARHT since 2011, and loves being able to provide critical-care level medicine outside of the hospital, and the variety of work this job brings.

Outside of medicine, Alana is mum to a young family.

Paul Blakemore

PHRM Doctor

Phrm Doctors

Paul Blakemore

Paul arrived in Invercargill from the UK in 2008 and finished his emergency medicine training in Auckland, working as an ARHT PHRM Fellow in 2015.

Despite moving to Tauranga to take on a role as their trauma lead in the emergency department, he continues to fly with the Trust twice a month.  When not traveling between both cities, he loves kayak fishing, cooking curries and spending time with his little kiwi daughter.

Nicholas Longley

PHRM Doctor

Phrm Doctors

Nicholas Longley

Nick joined ARHT as a PHRM Doctor in 2016 and also works as an Emergency Medicine Physician in the Auckland region.

Prior to returning to Auckland in 2011, Nick worked and lived in the UK and Australia for many years. His spare time is spent with his wife, enjoying watching their young son Sebastian grow, explore and develop.

Stephanie Valent

PHRM Doctor

Phrm Doctors

Stephanie Valent

Stephanie is an Emergency Medicine Trainee in her final stage of training and is developing a strong interest in Emergency medical care outside the hospital.

Hailing from Whangarei Heads, she worked for a few years at Whangarei Hospital before arriving in Auckland to complete her training.

When she is not working, she loves getting into the outdoors and particularly enjoys horse riding, tramping and spearfishing.

Stephanie Mackie

PHRM Doctor

Phrm Doctors

Stephanie Mackie

Stephanie joined the Trust in December 2018 and loves working with a bunch of incredibly motivated and skilled colleagues to care for people in the community when they most need help.  Outside of work, she loves to run, swim, and kayak and hopes to do this with her baby son as he gets bigger.

Louise Park

PHRM Doctor

Phrm Doctors

Louise Park

Louise works as an Emergency Medicine Specialist at the Auckland City Hospital, and is the clinical lead for Wellness and Resilience at the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust.

A self-confessed thrill-seeker, Louise can often be found feeding her addictions to various snow and water sports, or planning her next outdoor or travel adventure.

Jono Wills

PHRM Doctor

Phrm Doctors

Jono Wills

Jono moved from Tauranga to Auckland in 2012 and has worked throughout the Auckland region. Most recently, he spent a few years working at a trauma hospital in East London. Jono is currently working as an Emergency Medicine Fellow at Auckland Hospital and is enjoying being part of Westpac Rescue Auckland which he describes as a cohesive team that really make a positive impact on the community.  

Outside of work, Jono enjoys getting stuck into DIY projects at home (mostly unfinished he admits), heading out into nature for an adventure, or just kicking a ball around at the park. He also enjoys spending time with his wife and young daughter.

Jono began work at ARHT in June 2019.

Gary Payinda

PHRM Doctor

Phrm Doctors

Gary Payinda

Gary joined the Auckland Regional Helicopter Trust in September 2019, traveling down each month from his home in Whangarei, where he serves as an elected Director of the Northland District Health Board, Co-Director for Emergency Medicine Training at Whangarei Hospital, and Medical Director for Surf Life Saving NZ.

He is excited to work with a team committed to bringing the highest level of expertise to the people of the Northern Region. He's worked as an emergency medicine specialist at Whangarei Hospital for the past twelve years and, prior to that, trained at Los Angeles County Hospital. His special interests are trauma, education, and ultrasound.

In his free time he enjoys anything to do with the ocean, and loves discussing politics, history, and current affairs with his two teenage children.

Kerry Holmes

PHRM Doctor

Phrm Doctors

Kerry Holmes

Kerry is a born and bred Aucklander and works as an Anaesthetist at North Shore and Waitakere Hospitals. He has also worked as a Flying Doctor for the Royal Flying Doctor Service in Alice Springs Australia and throughout Africa with the AMREF Flying Doctors based in Kenya. Kerry's thrilled to be part of the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust which he considers a forward-thinking team, helping provide world class care in world class helicopters.

When not working, he enjoys getting to the beach and spending as much time as possible with his wife and two boys.

Anil Joshi

PHRM Doctor

Phrm Doctors

Anil Joshi

Anil joined ARHT in December 2019.

He was born in the UK with all of his post graduate training done in a major trauma centre in East London. In 2017, his family moved to New Zealand to a much warmer Whangarei where he worked in the Emergency Department at Whangarei Hospital and did inter-hospital retrieval work for the Northland Emergency Services Trust. He then moved to Auckland spending time in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit in Starship Hospital and then Middlemore Emergency Department.

As a Pre-Hospital and Retrieval Medicine Fellow, he splits his time between ARHT and Auckland City Hospital's Emergency Department. Anil enjoys the diversity of disciplines who come together to form a small team at ARHT. He says everyone has different professional backgrounds and something unique to add to the table. Anil adds the crew enjoy learning from each other on a daily basis.

In his spare time Anil enjoys going on Kiwi adventures with his young family of four as well as running, swimming and kayaking.

David Peak

PHRM Doctor

Phrm Doctors

David Peak

We welcomed David aboard to the team in January 2020.

David is an emergency medicine consultant currently working at the Waitemata District Health Board and has been there for 13 years. He is Auckland born and bred and trained here.

David says he is really excited to be a part of the ARHT team and finds his job exciting providing the best patient care often in challenging conditions. "I love working in a team environment and can see the difference the service makes to Kiwis in their time of need," he says.

David is married with two children. He is an avid surfer and loves his tennis. He tries to get outdoors as often as possible and is always up for a new adventure. Other hobbies include skiing, swimming and cycling.

Sue Johnson

PHRM Doctor

Phrm Doctors

Sue Johnson

Sue joined ARHT in June 2020 as one of the pre-hospital and retrieval medicine fellows.

She has been living in NZ for the last four years and is completing her training in Emergency Medicine and Intensive Care. ARHT is an ideal environment for using skills she has learnt across these specialties and applying them to a pre-hospital setting.

Sue grew up in northern England and completed her medical training in Edinburgh. She spent some time working in rural South Africa and intends returning to work in Africa at some point in the future.

Outside of work, she enjoys mountain biking, hockey, tennis and any excuse for being outdoors.

Kate St Louis

PHRM Doctor

Phrm Doctors

Kate St Louis

Kate joined ARHT in February 2021 as a Pre-Hospital and Retrieval Medicine fellow.

She's been in New Zealand for the last seven years, working in Hawkes Bay and Christchurch before moving to Auckland to join our team.

Kate is nearing the end of her emergency medicine training and currently undertaking a diploma in Pre-Hospital and Retrieval Medicine with a view to continue to work in this field.

The best thing about the job for her so far, Kate says is, "being a member of an awesome team and having my son say, 'that's Mama's Helicopter' whenever he sees the chopper overhead."

When Kate's not at work or chasing after her two year old, she loves to be out on her bike or spending time with her whānau.

Brett Shaw

PHRM Doctor

Phrm Doctors

Brett Shaw

Brett joined the Trust in February 2021 and is a Pre-Hospital and Retrieval Medicine fellow from Canada.  Brett's specialty training is in emergency medicine.  He is particularly interested in wilderness medicine and pre-hospital critical care transport.

Outside of work, Brett likes to spend his time rock climbing, running, and going on adventures with his wife and son.

He says one of his favourite things about working at ARHT is the constant learning/training. Brett also enjoys being part of a multi-disciplinary team.

Greg Brownson

Hanger Manager

Support

Greg Brownson

Greg served in the NZ Army in Vietnam, 161 battery 1970-1971. He joined Red Beach Surf Club in 1979, gaining surf medallion and first aid and acting as powercraft officer and surf boat crewman.

In 1983 Greg joined the Helicopter Rescue Squad as a crewman. He then qualified as a NZUA Diver and Crewman Instructor and in 1986 was Helicopter Crewman of the year.

In 1991 Greg joined the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust as a fulltime Helicopter Rescue Crewman Instructor, HUET Instructor and Sea Survival Instructor and become Crew Chief in 1992.

In 2000, after 17 years at the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust, Greg was appointed Helicopter Manager. Greg also has qualifications as instructor in Winch Training, Helicopter Underwater Escape Training and maintaining helicopter crews training standards. Greg is also a qualified Motor Mechanic.

Lincoln Davies

Manager

Support

Lincoln Davies

Lincoln has worked for a number of New Zealand charities in communication roles. He started as a copywriter in the advertising industry, before making the leap to the not-for-profit sector in 1999.

Lincoln finds great satisfaction in using his creative skills to support a good cause. He joined the Trust in 2015.

Outside of work, the father of two enjoys getting out amongst it all with his family and heading off on intrepid adventures with Kiwis to help others in need.

Michelle Geange

Office Manager

Support

Michelle Geange

Michelle (Shellie) has been with ARHT since 2001.  Prior to that, she was juggling gaining her Diploma in Business Management and Diploma in Photography.

Shellie has been an integral part of our data processing team and has taken on a fundamental role within our new database system, ensuring that donations and statistical analysis is maintained accurately.

Paul Yates

Sponsorship Manager

Support

Paul Yates

Paul worked for 30 years in the Toy industry, starting with a Saturday morning job at the Toy Warehouse. He then progressed to management and became a Branch Manager for Deka.

Following on from Deka, Paul worked as an Account Manager at Thos Holdsworth & Sons Ltd for 20 years before, joining ARHT in 2016.

In his spare time, Paul likes to ride his Harley Davidson Motorcycle as often as possible, and also enjoys a spot of fishing and mountain biking.

Bruce Kerr

Patient Liaison Officer

Support

Bruce Kerr

Bruce Kerr is an ex-Intensive Care Paramedic for the Trust. He retired from full-time active duty in December 2016, after over 20 years service with ARHT and 20 years with St John Ambulance. Bruce completed over 3,000 rescue missions in that time.  Bruce is now working two days a week out of the Trust's fundraising office, speaking to our patients and answering any questions they may have, as well as assisting the Planned Giving Manager with bequest-related enquiries and speaking engagements.

Hannah Reed

Project Manager

Support

Hannah Reed

A major driving force in Hannah's life has been to surround herself with inspiring people, help others in whatever way she can, and to have a passion for all that she does.

Hannah loves creating opportunities for people and observing the positive impacts that events bring to our communities, our cultures and our livelihoods.

Originally from the UK, Hannah studied in Cornwall and received a First Class Hons in Events Management. She was also awarded a prize for the greatest charitable contribution after setting up her own charity focussed on Mental Health prevention within higher educational institutions, while she was studying.

Since graduating, Hannah has done volunteer work and has made it her mission to gain as much industry experience as possible managing private, commercial, corporate and charity events, in the UK, South Africa and New Zealand.

In Hannah's free time, she loves painting, experimenting in the kitchen, and getting out and having as many adventures as possible.

Hannah joined the ARHT team in July 2019.



Katie Tomlinson

Event Manager

Support

Katie Tomlinson

Katie first joined the team in August 2015 as the Event Coordinator. In 2018 she went to the United Kingdom and worked on events for London Business School and Cannes Lions in the south of France. Katie has a bachelors degree in Event Management and Marketing from AUT University.

Katie rejoined the trust as the Event Manager in March 2020. Her favourite part about working for ARHT is hearing from patients of their recovery progress.

In her spare time Katie enjoys drawing, traveling, getting outdoors and playing lots of sports.

Dan Coombe

Contract Creative

Support

Dan Coombe

Daniel has been building brands for more than two decades and formally worked as a Creative and then Creative Director at leading advertising and creative agencies. He has worked in Auckland, Amsterdam and London before joining the Trust in 2014. A proud member of the Trust, he now enjoys using his creative powers for good and loves being part of a team that makes such a difference in the community.

Barry Watkin

Logistical Support

Support

Barry Watkin

Barry was the Chief Paramedic for the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust, retiring from active duty in 2016.

Barry has worked for the rescue service since 1997 and now continues in a flexible part-time role, assisting with vehicle management, equipment pick-up, staff retrievals, public speaking engagements and ambulance liaison. He also provides helicopter awareness/safety presentations to rural Ambulance and/or NZ Fire service staff, as well as training and education for rural EMS volunteers.

Barry enjoys continuing to promote the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust in any capacity he can.

Jane Dyke

Document Controller

Support

Jane Dyke

Jane started working for ARHT in October 2013. Jane's role is to assist the Flight Operations Manager, Safety Manager, Training Manager, Crew Chief, and Paramedics to maintain ARHT's documentation.

In her spare time, she enjoys relaxing at a café for a morning latte, exercise, travelling, the outdoors and being a Joyologist with a dash of pink! She has also been roped into helping her 94 year old inspiration write a book.

Jane loves to spend time with her family, friends and beautiful pooch, who she gets to take kayaking. Jane’s paddle-boarding skills need to be honed before she can take her pooch on board.

Leanda Hunt

Executive Assistant

Support

Leanda Hunt

Leanda began working for ARHT in 2015. Prior to that she was in a business advisory role for the Business Excellence Awards.

Debbie Bell

Operations Support – Administration

Support

Debbie Bell

Debbie had first-hand experience as a patient after her family was involved in a major car accident in 2012.  She feels an immense appreciation for the lifesaving service that the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust provides.

After a long recovery, Debbie started with the Trust in early 2014 as our Volunteers Manager. She loved working with the amazing team of loving, hardworking, and passionate volunteers who make up the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust Volunteer Whanau.

In July 2020, Debbie moved on to her new role as Operations Support – Administration for Northern Rescue Helicopters Limited at our ARHT base in Ardmore.

Phillip Stott

Safety Manager

Support

Phillip Stott

Phillip joined ARHT as Safety Manager in January 2018, bringing with him extensive experience in the areas of aviation and workplace safety.  Phillip says, “Coming to ARHT has been invigorating, with pilots, crewmen, paramedics and doctors including safety in daily conversations and activities.  In an organisation where the team has to stay safe, in order to ensure the safety of others, such interactions are invaluable.”  In his spare time Phillip enjoys photography and attending airshows.

Darrell Simpson

Flight Simulation Manager/Instructor

Support

Darrell Simpson

Darrell joined ARHT in March 2011 in a part-time capacity to operate the trailer-mounted helicopter simulator at PR events and to establish a training programme for the pilots involving a monthly session in the simulator to practise instrument flying and emergency procedures.  Subsequently, he helped build the Trust’s BK117 simulator, a more authentic device, used for training ARHT pilots and those from other helicopter operators.

Darrell served for 21 years in the RNZAF flying and instructing on both helicopters (Sioux and Iroquois) and fixed wing aircraft (Harvard, Devon, Airtourer, Dakota and P3 Orion) and, during an exchange posting to the US Navy, gained considerable experience operating and instructing on flight simulators at a major Orion training squadron near San Francisco.

His interests include a range of sports, reading, anything aviation-related and family (adult son and daughter plus twin grandsons).  He and wife Jill, who spends many hours volunteering at ARHT events, make a formidable PR team when operating the flight simulator out in the community.

Fraser Burt

Maintenance Controller

Support

Fraser Burt

Fraser has been an aircraft engineer since 1994, starting in the RNZAF then spent some time in the UK and in NZ on airliners. He made the move to helicopters in 2006.

Fraser really enjoys his job at ARHT knowing his efforts are a part of helping others in trouble. Outside of work he loves spending time with his wife and two children. Fraser also runs one of the two Te Puru cub packs which he attends with his son.

Michelle Jagiello

Engineering Administrator

Support

Michelle Jagiello

Michelle joined the team in February 2020 to assist the Aircraft Maintenance Controller and Engineering team. She has spent the last 14 years as an Aircraft Maintenance Planner working for Flightline Aviation and Airbus Helicopters.    

Michelle likes to spend her free time socialising with friends and family as well as being involved in the many sporting commitments of her two sons.

Chris Purdeu

Corporate Team Member

Support

Chris Purdeu

Chris joined the ARHT fundrasing team back in 1999, after completing a BA at university and making ends meet doing a variety of handy-man type jobs.

Now married with three kids, Chris just loves being a part of the ARHT team that helps save so many lives.

Ros Denton

Corporate Team Member

Support

Ros Denton

Ros started with ARHT in 2011, bringing her passion for helping people and providing a great service.

She is excited about being part of a great team which help deliver such an essential lifesaving service to everyone in the Auckland and Coromandel Regions.

In her spare time, Ros and her husband like to escape to their bach in Whangamata, with the rest of the family and their dog, Lexi.

Nigel Hood

Corporate Team Member

Support

Nigel Hood

Originally hailing from London, UK, Nigel spent seven and a half years in the RAF on a helicopter squadron. After leaving the RAF, Nigel worked as a photo manager on board cruise ships for several cruise lines, sailing throughout the Caribbean.

Returning back to the UK was not an option (after coming from such warm temperatures), so he moved out to Florida where he lived for 20 years. Here, he had his own commercial photography company and real estate brokerage, selling  hotels.

After arriving on the shores of New Zealand, Nigel got right into the kiwi culture, racing kayaks and Waka amas for a local team and training for his pilot license.

In his spare time, you can often find him riding around this beautiful countryside on his motorcycle.

Nigel also volunteers with Coastguard Air Patrol, when not spending time with his two beautiful daughters, Hannah and Alexa.

Phillip Hedstrom

Corporate Team Member

Support

Phillip Hedstrom

Phillip started with the Trust in 2006 as part of a small Corporate Fundraising team.

In his spare time, Phillip enjoys fishing, golf and traveling to Asia and the Pacific Islands.

Rob Taylor

Corporate Team Member

Support

Rob Taylor

After a successful career in real estate, Rob returned to ARHT in September 2018. He had worked with the Corporate Fundraising Team previously for five years. Rob has lived in Japan for eight years where he met his wife Makiko. The Taylors have two sons. When not busy with family, Rob enjoys football and plays the sport year round.

Phil Sheffield

Corporate Team Member

Support

Phil Sheffield

Phil joined the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust in 2011. He enjoys his day to day interaction with Supporters and being a part of the Fundraising Team. In his spare time, he likes to catch a big fish or a good flick as well as eating out with friends.

Kim Walker

Community Team Member

Support

Kim Walker

Kim joined ARHT in 2004 and has been involved in many different roles during this time - from running around teaching school students our Crew Fitness Test, through to conducting early morning boot camps for staff, and through to her most recent role of managing the Community Fundraising Team.

Kim loves the challenge of CrossFit, still gets excited about coming to work after all these years, and feels like she does a good deed every day.

She feels super proud to be part of the organisation and work alongside a wonderful bunch of people.

Miles Tillott

Community Team Member

Support

Miles Tillott

Miles has been part of the Community Fundraising team since October 2015.

Miles enjoys talking to all of the Trust's loyal supporters and says that being part of a world class rescue helicopter service is what keeps him going. That and a bit of golf or fishing at the weekend!

Simi Khiani

Volunteer Coordinator / Community Team Member

Support

Simi Khiani

Simi joined ARHT in April 2018. She is Deaf and lip reads fluently. She has always taken her deafness as a opportunity rather than a challenge and hungry to learn new things.

She completed her studies in 2017 with a degree in Bachelor of Commerce with double majors in Marketing and Information Systems from University of Auckland. She is very excited to be part of community team and proud to be a part of an amazing cause. Community work has always been a part of her life since a very young age.

In her spare time, she enjoys photography, beautiful cuisine delights, and exploring nature and all that New Zealand has to offer.

Jacob Lillyman

Ambassador

Ambassadors

Jacob Lillyman

The team of the Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter are excited to welcome onboard Jacob “Ox” Lillyman as an Ambassador for our service.

Jacob is an ex-professional Rugby League player who played for the New Zealand Warriors, North Queensland Cowboys and Newcastle Knights and proudly represented Queensland in the State of Origin series.

Being with his Kiwi sweetheart of eight years and mum to his three children, Tui-kay, Jacob is enjoying hanging up his boots and giving his body a “bit of a rest”.

He loves New Zealand for its abundant fishing, beautiful beaches and relaxed way of life. The couple, who spend a lot of time on Waiheke Island, are grateful for the early and safe delivery of their youngest son Xade, onboard the Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter.

Ian Jones

Ambassador

Ambassadors

Ian Jones

He’s a familiar face on the New Zealand rugby scene as well as our TV screens as a commentator with Sky TV. Just two centimetres shy of two metres, the former lock of the mighty All Blacks, is as generous in nature, as he is in stature. We are proud to have Ian support the work of the Auckland & Coromandel Westpac Rescue Helicopters.

In the 2012 New Year Honours, Ian was appointed a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to rugby.

The “Kamo Kid” now calls Auckland’s North Shore home and, when we approached him to fly the flag for our service, we were blown away by his response.

“I feel honoured and privileged to be involved with the work of the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust,” Ian told us, “What your service does for our community is incredible, so yes please!”

We are chuffed to have Ian on board and look forward to this can-do Kiwi lifting the profile of the Trust.

Miles Davis

Ambassador

Ambassadors

Miles Davis

If you do not recognise the man, you most certainly will recognise his voice. Miles Davis has presented shows on Newstalk ZB, Radio Sport, Radio Live, and Radio Pacific to name a few stations.

An avid sports and massive rugby union fan, he has fronted and provided commentary for international rugby as well as World Cup cricket. He also presented and produced his own show on Sky Sport and has made regular appearances on TV One’s Good Morning show.

This larger-than-life personality with an equally big heart has regularly used his voice to champion the work of the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust through events such as the annual Pallet Company Golf Day. Miles is always up for being auctioned off as part of a prize to the highest bidder!  

His huge network of contacts in the sporting world and high-profile personalities means he can and has opened many doors for us when it comes to creating money-can’t-buy auction items and similar opportunities.

Miles is excited about his official role as Ambassador for the Trust.

"The Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust provides an invaluable service to the people of New Zealand with their daily rescue missions,” Miles says, “Their ability to access remote locations as well as transport critically injured patients to medical facilities in double-quick time makes them unique. They have saved untold lives over the years.

I have been proud to support the efforts of the ARHT for the past decade and feel honoured to have been made an Ambassador."

We are thrilled to have you on-board in this new capacity too Miles!