New Zealanders have dug deep to donate more than $1.26 million to this year's Westpac Chopper Appeal, beating last year's effort of $1.22m.

The total includes $46,214 raised for the Tauranga-based TECT Rescue Helicopter, which serves Rotorua and the wider Bay of Plenty.

This year was memorable for New Zealanders going the extra mile in their fundraising drives.

Westpac NZ acting general manager of consumer banking and wealth Gina Dellabarca said many people pushed themselves to their limits to fundraise.

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"Their determination is incredibly inspiring," she said.

"The theme of our campaign this year was that Chopper Country is often closer than people think, and that message has rung true for a lot of people", she says.

"Whether you're at your local beach, or on a bike trail at the end of the road, the rescue choppers are always there to help in emergencies, so it's great that we're able to help them."

Dellabarca paid tribute to the hard work and dedication of Westpac staff, volunteers and New Zealanders who contributed to the result.

Funds raised through the appeal are distributed to the 15 rescue helicopter services across the country and donations go back to the region it was collected from.

Base manager and pilot Liam Brettkelly said they were proud to be part of the appeal and were grateful to everyone who donated either time or money throughout the month.

"With your support we are able to provide our community with the life-saving service of the Trustpower TECT Rescue Helicopter," he said.

Donations are welcome throughout the year and can be made at www.chopperappeal.co.nz or any Westpac branch.

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Highlights of the appeal
• Auckland cafe owner and Afghan refugee Karim Rostami completed the 20km Westpac Chopper Swim from Waiheke Island to Auckland, despite childhood polio leaving him unable to use his legs in the water.
• Westpac Westport staff member Sarah Prior completed a 160km "fun run" in Hanmer.
• Invercargill man Reece McDonald took part in the annual 235km one-day charity bike ride through Southland, just two months after suffering a heart attack and being flown to hospital by the rescue chopper.