Almost a done deal - Whitianga on the Coromandel should see a return of crew and an emergency rescue helicopter this summer.
Coromandel Rescue Helicopter Trust chairman Walter Russell said a meeting on November 18 will confirm Whitianga's community-fundraised hangar and accommodation will not lie empty this year and a vital service will be based on the Peninsula.
"NASO [the National Ambulance Sector Office] has given Auckland permission to come back down here. As long as they have got the aircraft in Auckland, and they've got three ... at this stage that looks like what's going to happen," he said.
"It's almost a done deal. But this meeting should clarify, and we'll know on 18 November."
Whitianga was dropped as a summer base for an emergency helicopter last year and the Coromandel was serviced from Ardmore.
Until last year, Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust had based a helicopter at the hangar and crew had a four bedroom house to stay in during their shifts.
This $1 million hangar and accommodation facility was thanks to fundraising efforts of the Coromandel community through events such as Repco Beach Hop and the Matarangi Food and Wine Festival, and sponsorship including major sponsor Mother Earth.
Mother Earth owners Bernie and Kaye Crosby have a holiday home in Mercury Bay and are generous supporters. The Coromandel Rescue Helicopter Trust have named the air base Crosby Field in their honour.
Walter said the need was greater than ever.
"It'll be huge this summer. There'll be so many people on the Peninsula, it was bursting at the seams this weekend and every marina in New Zealand seemed to empty off into Mercury Bay."
Callouts numbered between 12 and 15 per month.
He said new trustees had been appointed in Coromandel and Whangamata who were "all fired up and ready to go".
Improvements to the hangar included the addition of power.
Rescue helicopters in New Zealand operate as trusts and charities, currently fundraising for more than half their annual operating. costs. The other 47 per cent, is funded by ACC and district health boards.
Coromandel MP Scott Simpson brought National's Health spokesman Dr Shane Reti to Whitianga in the week before the elections, and said he was optimistic of the helicopter and crew's return.
Last year, ARHT's acting CEO Michelle Boag said the Coromandel would benefit from significangtly upgraded clinical standards of care.
"That frankly is spin," said Simpson. "Coromandel people now need to wait from as far away from the Peninsula as Tauranga, Hamilton or Auckland and no one can tell me that is a better service than what previously existed when a machine was stationed in Whitianga."