Barnett named as patron
Prominent New Plymouth businessman Bryce Barnett has been named patron of the Taranaki Rescue Helicopter Trust. Barnett was welcomed into the honorary role during a small ceremony at the Taranaki Rescue Helicopter hangar at New Plymouth Base Hospital on May 31. Barnett spent eight years with the trust, taking the reins as chairman in 2012 and helping ensure the future of the rescue helicopter. In 2018 he received a NZ Order of Merit for services to governance and philanthropy in the Taranaki region in recognition of the many roles he has occupied over the years. Trust chairman Evan Cottam says he is delighted to welcome a person of such high standing into the position of patron. “Bryce has contributed so much to the rescue helicopter over the years, navigating through some incredibly difficult times, and he has continued that extraordinary support since leaving the trust. He continues to be an advocate for the trust in the community, and the title of patron provides some recognition for that.” Pounamu pendants were presented to Bryce and each of the flight crew during the ceremony. The pendants were carved, corded and lashed by Terry Hignett, Melody Vedder and Darrin Vedder. “We don’t see these as gifts from us, but as gifts from the community for the valuable work they carry out for the Taranaki people,” said Hignett. The Taranaki Rescue Helicopter Trust was founded in 1992 to provide a rapid response rescue helicopter service for the province. Prior to this helicopters had been available in the region for emergency callouts, but not as an air ambulance.