The scope of this service is national and the NZFD team operates 24/7 providing critical care patient transfer services between hospitals. The Trust’s role is to support this life saving service and tell the community about it.

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The New Zealand Flying Doctor Service could not provide critical care patient services between hospitals without the generous support from our community. We need to raise over $3m per annum to sustain this critical air ambulance service. Make a life-saving difference today by making a donation.

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Coming together to save lives

Five-year old Rita McCormack has drawn a special picture of the flying doctor planes that helped save her life as a baby. Now her drawing is depicted on a fundraising t-shirt for the New Zealand Flying Doctor Trust (NZFDT), produced by sustainable Kiwi fashion company, Untouched World.

Before she was born, Rita’s parents Belinda and Lindon knew she had a heart condition and would need neonatal cardiac care at Auckland’s Starship Hospital.

She was treated by the team at Starship Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and when well enough, the flying doctor team transferred the family back home, taking Rita to Christchurch Hospital for further monitoring.
Lindon remembers the trip well. “It seemed rather overwhelming with wee baby Rita in the incubator, but the crew were so reassuring and cared for us as a family, every step of the way,”

Despite the early challenges, Rita is now healthy and loving school. Through the Trust, she has bonded with another patient, nine-year old Grace Byrne who also defied the odds after a major car accident. Together, they are helping support the t-shirt fundraiser launched this month.

Purchase a T-Shirt here:


  • We are a flying intensive care unit with highly trained medical staff and specialist equipment
  • Our patients receive a seamless level of care from bed to bed
  • We operate 24/7 transfer services for
    • critical care burn victims
    • spinal injury patients
    • neonatal transfers
    • trauma victims
    • surgery transfers
    • organ delivery
    • blood and equipment supplies
  • We save lives each and every day

Rugby legend



“The reason I wanted to get behind the New Zealand Flying Doctors and help out is because it’s something that so many Kiwis need, but it’s not until you actually need them that you become aware of it.”


Mission numbers have increased significantly in recent years resulting in a deficit between the government funding available through District Health Boards and the demand for the service.

A new purpose built patient oriented Emergency Air Facility has also increased costs and new technologies and training are available to enhance patient outcomes.


$3 MILLION per annum


There are a total of 10 experienced nurses and two casual nurses who currently work in the Christchurch Hospital Intensive Care Unit (ICU) who are scheduled on a 24 hour roster as part of the Air Ambulance Retrieval Team.

When required, a senior doctor can be drawn from the ICU to provide timely emergency care. The service also takes speciality staff on board such as paediatric doctors or midwives as required.

Watch our team at work

Read our patient stories

Becka’s Story

Becka’s Story

Becka was 27 weeks pregnant when she started to feel unwell; at Greymouth Hospital she was diagnosed with swine flu. Becka was put in an induced coma prior to taking her to Christchurch Hospital, where she spent the next week.

READ MORE Becka’s Story
Byrne Family

Byrne Family

After a medical incident at the wheel, the Byrne family just avoided two head on collisions and their car left the road.

READ MORE Byrne Family
Patient Types

Patient Types

There are a number of transfers that we make regularly around the country

READ MORE Patient Types
Alexis’s Story

Alexis’s Story

Alexis’s Story Back in 2004 our daughter was diagnosed with a rare bacteria infection (ecoli 0157) which caused her kidneys to completely shut down (Haemolytic Uremic Syndrome). As Christchurch hospital did not cater for […]

READ MORE Alexis’s Story
Beauden’s Story

Beauden’s Story

Beauden’s Story “On the 3rd of April at 10 days old my son Beauden was rushed to Southland hospital as he was vomiting bilious fluid and not thriving. Within 24 hours […]

READ MORE Beauden’s Story