A Wairarapa born and raised pilot and his wife who both work for Life Flight, say they are just two small cogs in the organisation.

Carterton-based rescue helicopter pilot Dean Herrick has been flying for 17 years, four of those for Life Flight Trust based in Wellington.

He was part of Saturday's rescue mission of a Carterton kayaker who had "got into a bit of strife" in Wellington harbour.

"You never know when and where you'll need the helicopter," Mr Herrick said.


"That was one of those jobs where you know you've actually saved someone. He was a goner that one."

Mr Herrick's wife Sherry works as Life Flight's Partnerships and Development Manger. They have known each other for 15 years.

"It's a unique set of circumstances," Mr Herrick said about working with his wife.

"It works well for us and works well for everyone and I guess our kids think it's pretty cool that they can go see the helicopter. Not many kids get to do that."

Mrs Herrick, who has worked at Life Flight for the past three months, said having a husband who is a pilot gives her a better insight into the life-saving service.

Her job is to find community partners to sponsor Life Flight missions, which cost $2500 each flight, and to raise awareness of Life Flight.

"So not only am I hearing about Life Flight in my day-to-day job," she said.

"But I'm also hearing about it at the dinner table. Obviously we don't spend all day talking about it but there is definitely a great connect between us that is beneficial to the team effort that Life Flight is successful for."

"Just about every person I meet in the community has been touched somehow by our service, whether directly or indirectly. It could be a neighbour, a loved one, a colleague - it's really quite incredible.

"It just goes to show how important this service is."

Life Flight flew 155 missions in Wairarapa last year and a total of nearly 1400 NZ-wide.

"We're trending upwards this year so there'll be more," Mrs Herrick said. "And for every mission there's a shortfall in that we have to find $2500 to make it happen.

"That's why community support, sponsorships and donations are so important. Because we simply can't do this without help.

"Since it started, Life Flight has helped more than 26,000 people. That's extraordinary. What would those 26,000 people have done if Life Flight wasn't there?"

To find out more information on supporting Life Flight visit www.lifeflight.org.nz.