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Rescue helicopter chair hands over controls


John BainNorthland Emergency Services Trust (NEST) is set to welcome a new chairman next month following the resignation of its founding head John Bain.

Bain announced his decision to step down during NEST’s 25th Anniversary celebrations held recently in Whangarei. His commitment to NEST extends 25 years, where he was an instrumental part in establishing the dedicated rescue helicopter service for people in Northland.

NEST’s rescue helicopter service has saved the lives of more than 1,000 people since it began, and flown more than 15,000 people in need, which Bain considers a milestone.

“NEST has grown to a point where it has exceeded my expectations and dreams for an air rescue service assisting the people of Northland,” said Bain. “Now is the right time to step away and let someone else take the helm.”

Paul Ahlers, the deputy chair and next longest serving trustee will take charge when Bain steps down at the end of this month. Ahlers says it will be business as usual when he takes over; however, he is looking forward to a challenge.

“There are certainly a number of pressures that I will look to address, including the increasing demand and strain on our services. When NEST began in 1988 it struggled to perform 100-150 hours in rescues a year, particularly considering the large geographical area it was required to cover,” said Ahlers.

“Last year NEST’s team clocked up more than 1,000 hours performing rescues. Our fleet of Sikorsky S76 helicopters that can travel longer and further than any other rescue helicopter in New Zealand certainly makes a difference.”

Bain will officially step down as chair at the board meeting scheduled for 29 November. He will remain on the board as a trustee until 31 March 2014 to ensure continuity of services.

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