Thu, Feb 22, 2024 4:00 PM

Flying doctors plane a blessing


Staff reporter

The newest addition to the New Zealand Flying Doctor Service has been officially welcomed into service.

Last week in Nelson the plane, now named Kahurangi was blessed by Archdeacon Emeritus Harvey Ruru QSM.

The $3 million Beechcraft Super King Air B200 air ambulance is the newest aeromedical plane in the New Zealand fleet and joins two other Beechcraft Super King Air B200C planes which are based in Christchurch.

The plane has been named in a public competition to find a name that would resonate with the community.

There were well over 100 entries into the competition and the winner, Naomi Johnson, selected the name Kahurangi for its meaning of the blue of the skies in the Nelson and Marlborough region.

During the evening the guests heard from Mark Sullivan, a patient who was transported by the NZ Flying Doctor plane from Nelson Hospital to Christchurch Public Hospital after a light plane crash left him with significant injuries.

Mark conveyed how the service is all about people, those who are helped and those who serve on them, and his gratitude for the crew who transported him to Christchurch.

Dr David Bowie, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the New Zealand Flying Doctor Trust talked about the service as a flying intensive care unit, the unique skills that are required by the crews and how important this service is to areas like Nelson where patients need to travel to larger hospitals for treatment and how this need is only increasing.

To the end of June 2023, the NZ Flying Doctor Service completed 1,276 missions across New Zealand.

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