The BayTrust Rescue Helicopter will be in Whakatane for the duration of Cyclone Cook to assist with any emergencies that may arise.

Base manager Ben Fry said the helicopter team were working as part of the greater emergency services team in the area to assist in potential rescues and emergency situations throughout the cyclone.

Last night a family trapped in Ruatahuna have been flown out of the township so they could continue to get ongoing medical care.

The Rotorua-based helicopter was sent to the remote Te Urewera township of Ruatahuna last night to fly out the family to Minginui.


The Whakatane District Council Civil Defence team requested the helicopter due to flood and slip damage in the area.

They airlifted the family to Minginui where the roads are still open and allow them to travel to Rotorua for specialist care if required.

The onboard paramedic was also able to assist another local man while in the township.

Minginui remains cut off via state highway, but locals are able to use forestry roads in and out of the village.