The Herald is this week profiling some of our emergency service heroes who have hidden talents or other jobs.

No two days are the same for Duncan Chisholm, an ambulance officer-come-disc jockey who thrives in fast-paced environments.

Chisholm joined the St John ambulance service in Gisborne four years ago and trained to become a emergency medical technician.

On an average day he is tending to the medical needs of the public in communities from Wairoa to Hicks Bay, giving health advice and training young cadets.


"We can do anything as little as going to someone for just someone to talk to, right through to having someone who isn't talking at all and you are handing them over to the hospital," Chisholm said.

"It can be one extreme to the other, and then a lot of in-between."

Chisholm said the fast-paced environment can be intimidating for some, but he enjoys the adrenaline rush he gets from helping people and doing good in the community.

"You can have an intense amount of work and you have demands which differ. You never know what jobs are going to come through, so as soon as your pager goes off you are out and about helping someone.

"You are there to help, you are not there to hinder anybody, and the reward is knowing someone is better off for what we have done."

Chisholm copes with the pressures of his emergency services role by tuning into his love of music and theatre.

When he is not in the back of an ambulance, Chisholm is likely to be found behind a DJ turntable or setting up lighting rigs at an event.

"I have been doing theatre stuff since I was 5 years old and took an interest in the technical side from the age of about 10," he said.


"Through high school I did a lot of lighting for school productions and events and then I took on a job with one of the local lighting companies. I worked for them for about eight years before I started my own little business on the side."

Chisholm has played DJ sets and set up lighting for big events such as the BW Summer Festival and Rhythm and Vines, as well as community events.

"It is a job that I can take my focus away from the ambo side of things. As much as I enjoy both of them, it is quite nice to have a separation," he said.

"Every now and then you can have some tough weeks and just by playing music in the weekends or when I get the chance to, it can be very relaxing because it is completely different from my day job.

"When I am playing music it means I can go into my own little zone."