It's every kid's dream to see their idols up close.

And there were plenty of them at the annual BayTrust Rescue Helicopter open day in the Rotorua Hospital grounds yesterday.

The emergency forces were out in force and some families even came back for a second look to chat to the crews from St John Ambulance, New Zealand Fire Service, Rotorua Police, Rotorua Coastguard and Civil Defence, and to get a ride on the mock rescue winch or a peep-in at Rotorua's rescue helicopter.

Philips Search & Rescue Trust communications and marketing manager Vanessa Richmond said it was busy all day with a steady flow of people.


The crowd was enthusiastic and supportive, she said.

"We had people waiting at the door to get in at 9.30am, half an hour before it opened. Some had stayed all day while others had popped in and out," she said.

Tina Rakoczy took her two boys Daniel 5, and Joshua, 2 along for the afternoon.

"The boys loved it, they had a really good time. They loved being able to sit in a fire truck and helicopter and it was the first time Joshua had seen a helicopter up close."

Daniel was so enthusiastic to go to the open day he reminded his mother it was on. He was particularly amazed by the helicopter, fire engine and rescue boat.

"He loved everything but said he especially loved the ride in the helicopter winch," said Mrs Rakoczy. "It was a great day for the whole family."

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BayTrust Rescue Helicopter base manager/chief pilot Barry Vincent agreed the day had been fantastic.

He said the Rotorua community had supported the event and there had been "an awesome turnout".

He said it was good to be able to open the doors and for people to see the interaction between the services.

"We often work together at an emergency and it is a great opportunity to be together all in one place.

"It's our chance to show the community what we do."

He said some of the rescue helicopter team were made up of full-time fire service staff, which was a good example of how the relationship worked.