Each day Life Flight's Westpac Rescue Helicopter is out and about saving lives. With Westpac's Chopper Appeal Month under way, Kāpiti News editor David Haxton sat down for a coffee with one fortunate person who needed the emergency service.

One moment Kaz Deverill was enjoying a quad bike ride in a remote part of Kāpiti, the next she was lying face down in gravel with the machine crushing her leg.

The accident happened in February 2013 when Kaz was taking part in a guided quad bike ride in the Maungakotukutukus, a mountainous area in the hills behind Paraparaumu.

She was at the back when the accident happened so the rest of the group had gone on a bit and were unaware of the drama unfolding behind them.


"The pain in my leg was agonising.

"I remember calling out but there was no one there so I just prayed.

"We hadn't seen anybody for three hours but the second I finished praying two guys turned up on motocross bikes and lifted the quad bike off me and sat me up.

"I thought I had broken my leg and didn't realise the enormous severity of my injuries.

"There was blood everywhere and I was in so much pain.

"I've got three kids and I've never experienced pain like that."

The tour group, including her husband Kevin, was soon by her side.

One of the group headed off to get cellphone reception and call the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.

With help on its way, and others with her, the two mens on the motocross bikes continued on their way.

"To this day I don't know who they were."

Westpac Rescue Helicopter lifts Kaz Deverill.

The helicopter arrived and a paramedic gave her some pain relief before she was winched skywards into the chopper.

The chopper had to land on the way to Wellington Hospital so more pain relief could be administered.

"You know the 1960s when it was all psychedelic, it was just like that.

"The next thing I remember was being in hospital with many doctors and nurses around me."

Kaz Deverill in hospital.
Kaz Deverill in hospital.

Kaz, who was in hospital for about three and a half weeks, would have five operations to deal with her injuries which included leg, shoulder, elbow, wrist, nose, concussion and a broken tooth.

Doctors told her she was lucky to be alive.

"It was a long road to recovery."

Sometime afterwards she took her grandkids to a Life Flight open day and met the crew who helped that fateful day.

Crewman Mike Beausoleil, left, Kaz Deverill, flight paramedic David Huntley.
Crewman Mike Beausoleil, left, Kaz Deverill, flight paramedic David Huntley.

"It was quite emotional.

"They saved my life."

Kaz, from Waikanae, still has some physical effects from the crash but has learned to do things differently.

Moreover, the accident made her re evaluate her life.

"I used to do life at 150 miles an hour but it actually forced me to slow down and start smelling the roses.

"Life is short so it's about making the most of every day."

Her strong bond with her family was made even stronger.

"I actually really look out for time to spend with them rather than 'I'm busy' or 'I can't'."

Kaz Deverill. Photo / David Haxton
Kaz Deverill. Photo / David Haxton

Each anniversary of the accident is emotionally difficult though.

"You almost grieve for the person you were before, but you feel happy because you are where you are, its a really conflicting emotion."

She's forever thankful to the people who helped her in her time of need especially the Westpac Rescue Helicopter crew.

"They do a brilliant job."

Ways you can donate this Chopper Appeal: at any Westpac branch, online at www.chopperappeal.co.nz , text your postcode to 2449 to make a $3 donation.