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The Trustpower TECT rescue helicopter is based at Tauranga Hospital’s Ian Pain Memorial Hangar. The service was founded in 2000. We came on board in 2004, as joint principal sponsors with TECT (Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust). We still reckon we’re lucky to be involved with such a remarkable group of people.

The pilots

Trustpower TECT rescue helicopter pilots are amongst the best in the industry. That matters, because they’re often flying in adverse weather, at night, or with a crewman and patient hanging from the winch. 

Liam Brettkelly, Pilot/Base Manager has been with the rescue helicopter since the service was launched. He’s now flown thousands of missions. 

Todd Dunham, Duty Pilot was previously a pilot for the Philips Search and Rescue Trust in Palmerston North.

St John ambulance paramedics

The helicopter paramedics are from Tauranga’s St John Ambulance team. All paramedics are trained to work in and around the helicopter. They’ve played a central role in the survival of hundreds of people from the Bay of Plenty.

Tauranga hospital flight nurse team

The flight nurse, doctor, midwife or paramedic is also crucial. They’re trained to keep people alive — at 1500 metres or at an emergency scene, in challenging conditions or in the dark. The helicopter’s 24/7 flight nurse roster includes teams from the hospital’s Critical Care and Intensive Care units and Emergency Department.

Police search and rescue team

Search and rescue missions call on trained Police officers. They often operate the helicopter winch and long-line, and during search missions they’re expert observers.

The helicopter

The Trustpower TECT rescue helicopter is an AS350 B2 'Squirrel'. The helicopter has a cruise speed of 120 knots and a range of 600 kilometres, which is about three hours of flight time. It is specially equipped for all-weather flying as well as nightime flying, with night vision goggles and a 30 million candlepower searchlight on board. The Port of Tauranga rescue winch enables two people to be lifted from difficult terrain, or water and up into the helicopter. 

Donate to the Trustpower TECT rescue helicopter by clicking here.