Air Rescue Trust´s Chopper Appeal Campaign 2017

About the Canterbury West Coast Air Rescue Trust


Our Mission Statement

To contract, fund and promote a professional emergency air rescue and air ambulance operation.




The Canterbury West Coast Air Rescue Trust has been funding the life-saving Air Rescue service in Canterbury and the West Coast since 1989. This has been achieved in partnership with Garden City Helicopters, the operator of the service. 


Canterbury West Coast Air Rescue Trust (CWCART) is a charity and relies on the generous support of our community to continue funding this service. Only 30% of our mission costs are covered by the government (ACC and Ministry of Health), and the rest needs to be made up by donations from individuals, families, and businesses in our community. This is an expensive but essential service; in fact each mission costs an average of $8625, and we need to raise over $7 million a year. You need only look into the eyes of someone who has been saved to know the real value of Air Rescue.  

An air rescue service wouldn’t exist without the life-saving donations from passionate supporters of CWCART.







Did You Know: 




  • Since 1989 the region’s air rescue service has undertaken over 9000 rescue missions. During 2015 alone over 800 people were rescued by our Air Rescue service. 


  • Our Canterbury and West Coast air rescue service covers the largest single geographical area in New Zealand – watching over the lives of around half a million people with two dedicated rescue helicopters and rescue crews.


  • The Westpac Rescue Helicopter based in Christchurch and the NZCC Rescue Helicopter based in Greymouth are on standby 24 hours of the day, 365 days of the year - with a third, back-up helicopter and crew available in Christchurch should it/they be needed.


  • Our rescue crews cover a region from Kaikoura down to Waitaki on the East Coast, from Karamea to Haast on the West Coast - and everywhere in between.


  • Over a 24 hour period, an average of three people in the Canterbury West Coast region will place their lives in the hands of our air rescue crew.


  • The success of this crucial service is due, in no small part, to the fact that the Trust has the recognition, co-operation and support of the Police, Ambulance Service, ACC, Hospitals, Coastguard and of course, the community which it serves.


  • In a life and death situation where every minute counts, air rescue may be a patient's only chance for survival. In trauma cases such as road accidents and medical emergencies, if a patient has access to the specialised care they need within one hour of the onset of illness or injury, their chances of making a complete recovery increase by up to 80%. This is recognised and referred to as "The Golden Hour".

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