Rakiura Helicopters, the only helicopter company with a concession for operations out of Stewart Island's Fern Gully, and Bluff's Ocean Beach, has purchased an AS350 BA Squirrel helicopter that adds capacity for travelers, hunters and commercial operators and also vital medivac facilities for the island.
The Squirrel is capable of carrying a stretcher and local paramedics/SAR teams which means Stewart Island now has new medivac capabilities as well as a helicopter providing 6 passenger seat capacity for a safe and efficient 7 day a week operation.
Zane (37) is a 6th generation Stewart Islander who has spent his entire life on the island. He has extensive local knowledge and a deep understanding of the Maori & European history of the area. Zane is heavily involved with the local SAR (Search and Rescue) Group which meets monthly for training.
"It's been my dream to establish this company and I've gathered around me the machines, heliports and top pilots to get to this point," he said.
Rakiura Helicopters offers a full package exploring Stewart Island's unique history and features and, apart from its main heliports, has concessions to land almost anywhere on the Island.
Offering Rakiura Helicopters the experience levels required to continue to grow the business, highly experienced commercial pilots Dave Kershaw and Merv Hastie have joined Zane's team.
Each have strong family connections to the island and are known as skilled pilots with more than 35,000 hours (Dave 20,000, Merv 15,000) flying experience between them.
Stewart Island based Peter Innes works as Operations Manager / Pilot.
The Squirrel is already in use taking small groups on excursions to all corners of the island, transporting hunters, fishers and trampers to the best spots and offering commercial use to organizations such as Department of Conservation.
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