It is not every day the Rotorua Emergency Response Team tells people to head down a whitewater river but February 16 will be the exception.

The emergency response team have locked in the date for people to join in a fundraiser to help in their annual costs.

Wet and Wild is offering discounted rafting trips for one day next month, with all proceeds going to the emergency response team.

Rotorua Emergency Response rescuer and assistant manager Stephen Roll said they were fundraising for a raft which would be used for floods and swift water response.

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The team had never had a raft before but it was something they were excited about.

"It'll give us a wider response capacity," Roll said.

Rotorua Emergency Response Team Charitable Trust chairwoman Pauline Hitchcock said the group, which was originally owned by the Rotorua District Council, became independent in 2016 following the new health and safety act.

Rotorua Emergency Response Team members Pauline Hitchcock, (centre), Adam Harris, (left), and Stephen Rolls three of the 12 permanent rescue volunteers.Photo / Ben Fraser
Rotorua Emergency Response Team members Pauline Hitchcock, (centre), Adam Harris, (left), and Stephen Rolls three of the 12 permanent rescue volunteers.Photo / Ben Fraser

Hitchcock said fundraising and grant applications were the team's only source of income.

This proved a stretch, as a minimum requirement of personal protection equipment for each member cost $2000.

"We're always short on money since we became independent," Roll said.

As well as new equipment, gear was constantly reviewed, maintained and replaced.

"You've got to keep up with national standards," Hitchcock said.

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With one three-hour training each week, the team of 12 permanent volunteers and four in-training recruits were ready for local and national events.

From regional floods, high-angle mountain incidents or helping a dog stranded on a river boulder overnight, the team helped when needed.

The bulk of their expertise is in Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) and civil defence emergencies but they are not limited to this.

The team deployed to Christchurch on their longest stint following the 2011 earthquakes.

"They witnessed absolute devastation of people's homes and businesses," Hitchcock said.

"Although they did not need to actually perform a rescue they worked through the collapsed buildings and rubble in search of people and any animals."

The Rotorua Emergency Response team was founded in 1987 after the Edgecumbe earthquake.

The emergency response team will be onsite during the fundraiser next month to marshal and provide a sausage sizzle.

Kaituna River rafting fundraiser
When: February 16, 8.30am to 5pm, 1.5 hour intervals
Where: Kaituna River, Lower Trout Pool carpark, Okere Falls
Cost: $50 pp
For bookings, email nzrt15rertct@gmail.com or text "rafting" to (022) 602 7038