The wife of a man killed in a Wanaka helicopter crash says the fine given to The Helicopter Line (THL) shows "life is cheap in New Zealand".

THL was yesterday convicted and fined $47,600 on charges stemming from the 2014 crash of a helicopter near Wanaka that killed Auckland businessman Jerome Box.

In total the company has paid more than $400,000 over the crash when including reparations.

Mr Box died when the Squirrel he was in split in two and somersaulted 700 metres down Mount Alta while attempting a snow landing.


The 52-year-old was one of seven passengers on the chopper, five of whom were thrown from the cabin in August 2014.

Mr Box's widow Adelle Box told Stuff the fine showed "life is cheap in New Zealand".

The three and a half years since his death had been "utterly horrific" for her and her children, Xavier and Briana.

Attempting to be both a mother and a father to her children had been a "hard journey".

She did not hold a grudge towards THL and said the company had shown remorse, was trying to make amends and learning from the crash.

THL was sentenced by Chief Judge Jan-Marie Doogue in the Queenstown District Court yesterday following its guilty plea in November last year to two charges brought by the Civil Aviation Authority under the Health and Safety in Employment Act.

The charges were failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of its employee, and failing to take all practicable steps to ensure no action or inaction of any employee while at work harmed any other person.

The company accepted it breached the Act by failing to take a series of steps to ensure the helicopter was flown within weight and balance limitations.


Its pilot, Dave Matthews, a THL employee, failed to add an extra 4kg to the declared weight of each passenger, which meant the aircraft was 27.6kg heavier than calculated.

However, the parties had agreed that THL's failings did not cause the crash, Judge Doogue said.

The company has made voluntary reparation payments totalling $365,000 to the victims: $165,000 to Mr Box's wife and family, and $50,000 to each of the other victims.

"But I must also acknowledge that placing a monetary value on the loss of life in this case cannot make up for the grief so acutely felt by the loss of Mr Box - as a husband, a father, a brother and a friend,'' the judge said.