Media release

Media Release: Otago Rescue Helicopter Trust grateful for strong support of ORC

Wednesday 28 September 2022

The Otago Regional Rescue Helicopter Service responded with critical care for 1611 patients across the lower South Island in the year to 30 June, maintaining the significant uplift in activity reported the previous year.

The Otago Rescue Helicopter Trust presented its 2021-22 annual report to an Otago Regional Council (ORC) meeting today.

ORC is a major funder of the Trust, donating $350,000 annually.

ORC Chair Andrew Noone said the report showed HeliOtago, the rescue service operator, continues to deliver critical care across the region to a large number of patients who are often in desperate need of assistance from HeliOtago’s highly skilled paramedics.

“HeliOtago and the Otago Rescue Helicopter Trust are to be congratulated on the outstanding delivery of the essential rescue helicopter service for our Otago and Southland communities”.

“The service is relied on by us all and ensures critical care is there for us no matter where we are located in our challenging southern geographical area”, Mr Noone says.

“ORC is very pleased to continue our support of the Otago Rescue Helicopter Trust and notes the generous contributions from the Southland region over the past year reflecting the spread of rescue helicopter work across the lower South Island”, he says.

Otago Rescue Helicopter above beach


Many life-saving procedures need to be carried out in specialised hospitals so the Otago Rescue Helicopter Service plays a vital role in retrieving patients for medical emergencies and transfers, as well as responding
to accidents and search and rescue operations.

The Annual Report was presented by Stephen Woodhead, Trustee of the Otago Rescue Helicopter Trust,
and Graeme Gale, Managing Director HeliOtago.

They also announced a change in name of the Trust to the Otago Southland Rescue Helicopter Trust as well
as the appointment of a Southland-based Trustee, Suzanne Prentice.

Their presentation highlighted the work carried out by HeliOtago to ensure the uninterrupted delivery of the
service throughout the Covid pandemic, along with strong support from community and individual donors who
recognised the need to support this essential service throughout the pandemic.

They recognised the receipt of a significant one-off donation from the Otago Service Clubs Medical Trust that
enabled development of more instrument flight rules (IFR) routes across the region that will enable missions
to be carried out where poor visibility would previously have precluded flying. Already, the new routes have
helped to save lives.

Trustee Mr Woodhead said, “we are continually humbled and grateful for the generous donations received
from our community that enables the continued delivery of this life-saving service.

View the Otago Rescue Helicopter Trust’s 2022 Annual Report