“It was a life-saving mission, TWO LIVES in fact. The longer it goes on the more stress on the mother and baby. These are time critical missions.”

Rob Henderson, Crewman and Paramedic

When lives are on the line, YOU CAN HELP

We urgently need to raise $200,000 for life-saving missions this winter. Support the Crew and help SAVE LIVES this Chopper Appeal.

It was Aly’s first baby and living out on a farm between Cheviot and Kaikoura, when it got to day 11 beyond the due date, Aly was booked into Kaikoura Hospital to be induced. However, Aly’s contractions began the night before and despite medical interventions at the hospital in the early hours of the following day, things were not going as planned and the Westpac Rescue Helicopter was dispatched.

At the Rescue Base in Christchurch, Rescue Pilot Rob Van Lieshout and Crewman/Paramedic Rob Henderson got the emergency call and started their mission. On average, the Rescue Crew are in the air within six minutes.

When time is of the essence – the Rescue Helicopter is the only option. For many locations the Rescue Helicopter is a lifeline and it is only with community support that we can keep saving lives each and every day.


The Crew’s first stop was the new helipad on top of Christchurch Public Hospital, where they picked up the attending midwife. Being able to pick the midwife up off the hospital roof is a game changer – in cases like this, the time saving of 20-30 minutes can make all the difference.

Back in Kaikoura, around lunchtime, Aly’s partner Sam heard the arrival of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter and breathed a sigh of relief at Aly’s bedside. If necessary (and this has been the case on several occasions) a baby can be delivered in the Rescue Helicopter. However, given the complications in this case, the Crew knew they needed to get Aly to the hospital, and fast!

The Westpac Rescue Helicopter can get a patient from Kaikoura to Christchurch Public Hospital in just 45 minutes. They landed on the helipad, and Rob and the midwife took Aly on the stretcher straight to the birthing unit where the specialists were waiting. Mother and baby were both in distress and an emergency C-Section was scheduled.

Baby Archer was born at 5.02pm on January 16th 2021, at a very healthy 9lb 12oz.

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Archer did need some help with his lungs and spent five days in hospital, including one in NICU. Sam and Aly watched over him in awe and so utterly grateful for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service. They feel so blessed, describing Archer as their lockdown miracle.

Supporting our farmers and those who work on the land to feed us is an essential role of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter. As winter approaches and missions increase, we need your help so we can be for our whole community.

This winter, someone in our community like Aly (and Baby Archer) will need the Westpac Rescue Helicopter for urgent medical care.  

YOU CAN HELP TODAY by making a life-saving gift to ensure the Westpac Rescue Helicopter can be there for all of us in a life-threatening emergency.


TOGETHER, we can save lives!

We rescued 874 people

in 2020 alone


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