He spent a week in a coma after his quad bike crashed into a pine tree on Christmas Eve while holidaying in Pipiwai, Northland, in 2000.
The speedy rescue by the service saw him airlifted off steep rural land and likely saved his life. He's one of the faces of a new campaign encouraging donations.
Virtually every helicopter rescue carried out at the Mangawhai Surf Club is for an Aucklander, with Aucklanders making up a big chunk of property owners in the coastal village.
The Northland population swells by around 35 per cent with the tourist influx over summer, most from Auckland.
The Northland Electricity rescue helicopter and Auckland Westpac rescue helicopter service operations regularly overlap, with the northern helicopters attending car smashes and other emergencies in Rodney and the broader Auckland area.
But the funding options for the northern service are limited and it is a constant challenge to raise funds from northern businesses and individuals to cover an area nearly three times that of the Auckland region but with just a 10th of the population.
"So this year, I would dearly love to see visitors to Northland donating money to this very worthwhile cause," trust spokesman Steve MacMillan says.
People can donate at any Northland ASB Branch, or make an internet banking donation to ERH Appeal: ASB - 12 3106 0046000 00.
Those who donate $5 or more can be in to win one of 60 rides in a Northland Electricity rescue helicopter.
See facebook.com/north land.rescuehelicopter. © Fairfax NZ News