Wairarapa pilot Dean Herrick is on the front line of Life Flight helicopter rescues.
Mr Herrick grew up in Wairarapa and went to Kuranui College.
He said he had always wanted to be a pilot.
Mr Herrick trained in Masterton and then did stints with rescue operations in Hawkes Bay and New Plymouth before coming back to his home region about two years ago.
The hardest thing about being a Life Flight pilot, according to Mr Herrick, is being away from his wife and children when he works for four days at a time from the Wellington Life Flight base.
When he is on the job, one of the challenges he faces is having to call off a rescue.
"You never want to turn down a job, its hard to say no.
"But crew safety comes first," Mr Herrick said.
He rates one of the more important rescues of his career as the rescue of a man who had tried to cross Cook Strait on an aqua cycle miles from where he should have been.
The crew managed to rescue the man just before dark.
Mr Herrick said the man would have been in serious trouble if he had been left on the water overnight.
Mr Herrick plans on staying with Life Flight for the foreseeable future, citing "variety of work, challenge and reward" as reasons to stay involved.
Life Flight Trust provides the local Westpac Rescue Helicopter and air ambulance service for Wairarapa.
Last year Life Flight flew around three missions every week in Wairarapa and the Trust needs to raise $2500 from the community for every mission flown.
This month Life Flight's sponsor Westpac is running an appeal to help raise funds for rescue helicopter services.
Donations can be made via a street collection on Friday, May 30, or by visiting the website: www.lifeflight.org.nz.