Helping to keep the community safe in the Whakarewarewa Forest is the job of the Rotorua Mountain Bike Club First Response Unit and now ACC are coming on board as sponsors.

Today ACC announced it will be sponsoring the service over the next three years meaning people have someone to get them out of the forest if they run into trouble.

Rotorua Mountain Bike Club secretary Barbara Jenkins has spent hours attempting to raise the funds to keep the First Response Unit going.

Over the last year and a half she has raised more than $200,000 and now with the partnership from ACC it can continue to help people when they need it.


President of the Rotorua Mountain Bike Club Matt Hunt said this time of year always came with the opportunity to look back at what they had accomplished and ahead to the new and exciting possibilities.

He said the club spent a long time focused on trail building and creating the Rotorua Trails Trust really gave it the opportunity to start thinking about health and safety.

"The first step was getting better resourced."

One of the first things the club bought was the utility vehicle, which they call the buggy, they then kitted it out with stretchers, a defibrillator, radios and other medical equipment.

Peak Safety came onboard and paid medics have been working in the forest since December 2016, attending more than 160 callouts, to help people of all ages and riding abilities.

He said the staff were out most days in the community and working on preventative measures such as trimming trails and checking people's safety gear.

"It really reflects on Rotorua as a city with strong manaakitanga."

ACC sport injury prevention manager Kirsten Malpas said the organisation wanted to be in this together with the mountain bike club, Rotorua Lakes Council and Peak Safety.

"We want to keep people out in our forests safe.

"This has been a collaboration of quiet perseverance."

ACC's Jon Gaupset said it took some persuading to get the backing of their higher-ups.

"We managed to get support on this for the next three years.

"We want to go back and tell that story internally about what contribution a service like this can make."

Peak Safety medic Henry Worsp said they were in a fantastic situation where all parties involved were so focused on safety.

"For Peak Safety, what's most important for us, is that what we're doing is a really high quality."