As the new owner of the Hamurana store, Gina Kaur has wasted no time making friends with her customers.

She and her family made the move to the town of 2000 residents two months ago, looking for a change of pace.

They already feel at home.

"There's so much love, and they're so friendly," she said. "If my husband's here, they say 'oh, where's Gina?'"

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Kaur's store is the only shop in this small rural town, and now it fills an even more important, potentially lifesaving role - housing a new defibrillator.

Gina and her daughter have both been taught how to use the device, making themselves available 24/7 for any medical emergencies.

"[It's] mostly the very old, retired people living here and it's 15 to 20 minutes if the ambulance calls," she said. "It's a little late."

"If the people come and get treatment here, that means the ambulance can have time and they should be alright."

Defibrillators are used in a heart attack and greatly improve a patient's chances of survival. Photo / Nathan Morton
Defibrillators are used in a heart attack and greatly improve a patient's chances of survival. Photo / Nathan Morton

The defibrillator is one of three recently installed around the Rotorua region. They've also been placed at the local school ground and sports ground in East Rotoiti.

The Rotorua Lakes Community Board decided these three locations would be the most suitable. Chairperson Phill Thomass says their installation shows the board's eagerness to work with the public.

"We actually had two in the public come along to board, asking to install defibs," Thomass said.

"We thought it was a brilliant idea, however not just for the Rotoiti region, but right across the district."

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"We're talking to the community about where to put them. There's a few requirements: they have to be accessible, the public needs to access them easily when needed. There also needs to be cell service," Thomass said.

There are plans to install more defribillators over the coming year.

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