Northland's rescue helicopter trust has formed a joint venture entity with its Auckland counterparts and has won the National Ambulance Sector Office (Naso) contract for the northern region.
Essentially it means business as usual for the Northland team.
The joint venture has entered into an agreement with Naso for the next three-and-a-half years and began operating throughout the entire Northern region on April 1.
It ends months of uncertainty for the Northland Emergency Services Trust (Nest) which runs the helicopters.
The good news comes after a record year last year for rescue helicopter teams, flying 999 missions.
The service has been operating 30 years.
Nest chairman Paul Ahlers said the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust (ARHT) and Nest have provided support services for each other for many years and this new arrangement would enable them to build on their existing strengths.
The location of the air ambulance helicopter bases at Whangārei, Auckland and Whitianga remain unchanged, Ahlers said.
"Apart from the introduction of new, updated aircraft, very little has changed for us. We essentially run the same service as we have in the past," he said.
The Northern region contract covers the area north from Counties Manukau, including Northland, Waitematā, Auckland and Counties Manukau District Health Board regions.
The new service will continue to support Starship children's hospital's paediatric intensive care facility as appropriate, and will include Coromandel for pre-hospital emergency admissions.
Rescue helicopters in New Zealand operate as trusts and charities, at present fundraising for 53 per cent of their annual operating costs. The other 47 per cent is provided through contracts held with the Government for district health boards and the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC).
Last year the annual appeal saw the generosity of the Northland community donate a record amount, raising $385,000.
Ahlers said community donations and sponsorship would continue to play a vital role in ensuring the rescue helicopter services were sustainable.
"We rely so much on our community and the funds raised means Northlanders will have helped us to update the aircraft and provide the best possible service we can."
Already in the first three months of this year there have been 287 missions carried out by the rescue teams, up from 227 for the same period last year.
The trust has four helicopters, including two new Sikorsky S-76 C++ helicopters.
Previously the two new helicopters were scheduled to be in the air by March. It has taken longer than expected to prepare the aircraft for air ambulance duties.
The current two older, A model aircraft in operation will be sold to recoup costs.
In March last year Naso, on behalf of the Government, released its tender document and process for purchasing air ambulance and rescue helicopter services in New Zealand. There are now only three regions - Northern, Central and Southern.