The demand on Northland's rescue helicopter service is growing every year and Northlanders can help the service in May's Westpac Chopper Appeal Month.
New Zealand's rescue helicopters had their busiest year ever in 2020, covering all corners of the country to help Kiwis in trouble and support the health response to Covid-19.
The choppers helped a total of 9032 patients – 1519 more than in 2019 - including 1115 in Northland.
Throughout Westpac Chopper Appeal Month in May, New Zealanders are asked to give generously to help the country's 15 trusts continue flying these vital missions.
The Northland Emergency Services Trust runs the region's rescue choppers and chairman Paul Ahlers said Kiwis getting out and about in the months after lockdown kept rescue crews busy.
"We all enjoyed being able to travel and enjoy our favourite pastimes again, but that also meant more New Zealanders getting into trouble and needing our services.
"The number of missions we fly and people we're able to rescue increases year after year. We rely on the public to continue improving our lifesaving services, and we're hugely grateful for everyone who's able to donate even a small amount over the month of May."
Last year the appeal raised more than $1.6 million, including $51,394 for Northland's rescue helicopters.
Westpac NZ CEO David McLean said the rescue choppers play an important role in allowing New Zealanders to live the Kiwi lifestyle.
"We're able to work and play in our wonderful country, with the knowledge that if anything were to go wrong, lifesaving help is only minutes away."
This year, Westpac has teamed up with Trade Me to come up with a new way for New Zealanders to support their local rescue helicopter. Throughout May, Kiwis are encouraged to take part in the "Great Chopper Appeal Garage Sale" by listing an item on Trade Me using #chopperappeal and donating the amount raised from the sale to Chopper Appeal.
Westpac funds the marketing and administration costs of the Chopper Appeal, as well as distributing all funds raised back to donors' local rescue helicopter trust.
People wishing to make a donation or find out more information can visit www.chopperappeal.co.nz.