Maungaturoto locals inspect the rescue helicopter as it makes its first visit to the new landing pad

Enhanced landing pad for rescue chopper

by Paul Campbell

The NEST rescue helicopter has ‘christened’ Maungaturoto’s new landing pad, with pilot Peter Davies, lauding the “heartening community response” that made it possible.

The all-weather concrete pad at the Maungaturoto Country Club in Bickerstaffe Road was newly completed when the helicopter flew in and tested its facilities.

“It most certainly meets our requirements,” Peter said. “With its GPS location, we can plan our approach.

“In weather conditions, we know where it is and can switch on floodlighting on the ground from the helicopter. Many years of landing in the football field have not been ideal, especially in wet conditions. There is also an access ramp for ambulances. It’s a really great improvement and very heartening to see to see the community coming together to make it happen.”

The project was spearheaded by Maungaturoto’s Rapid Relief Team (RRT), which has been formed to support local projects by active fundraising and to assist emergency workers. Team leader, Richard Wearmouth, said members discussed the need for a landing pad and soon started fundraising, selling burgers from a mobile canteen at town events.

“We placed cash boxes at local businesses and canvassed cash, as well as materials and labour. The pad cost $12,000, and RRT underwrote the last $5,000 of this to complete the project. Northpower donated a power pole and electricity supply for floodlighting and strobe landing light.

“Now the permanent fully equipped landing pad is there for all operations and for the St John ambulance to transfer patients.”