Te Puke’s new state-of-the-art ambulance
Te Puke is home-base for a brand new, state-of-the-art ambulance which will serve the ill and injured across the Western Bay of Plenty.
Trinity Lands donated the $218,000 Mercedes Sprinter to St John at a ceremony in Te Puke on September 1, 2020. The vehicle is kitted out with the latest lifesaving equipment, and offers a safe and comfortable work environment for paramedics.
St John’s Bay of Plenty operations manager Jeremy Gooders says there are eight ambulances on the road in the Tauranga region every day. He says this ambulance – “an amazing gift” – replaces an older vehicle. It will routinely cover an area from Tauranga to Whakatane, but could be deployed further afield if needed.
There are about 20,000 urgent calls for an ambulance across the Western Bay each year, and demand in Te Puke has grown in recent years as the population has surged. Trinity Lands’ chair Stuart Bay says ambulances offer lifesaving treatment and comfort in desperate moments, and many families have experience of needing an ambulance during a critical medical event.
Trinity Lands’ CEO Peter McBride handed the keys over to The Order of St John’s Lyn Price, saying “We are really proud to be able to give this ambulance to St John.” The Order’s chaplain Rev Ruth Dewdney blessed the vehicle.
In its first three weeks in operation, the ambulance clocked up 5000km. On a trip to Maketu in late September, shift manager Todd Lahmert pointed out the features of New Zealand’s newest ambulance.
Mr Lahmert, a former farmer, said a paramedics life was much like a farmer’s: “Every day is different”.
Young Maketu mum Michelle Te Aute said she was so grateful that there was a state-of-the-art ambulance in nearby Te Puke.
“I am so comforted to know that if my son Nīkau ever needs an ambulance, we won’t be waiting 45 minutes for one to come from Tauranga.”
This is the second ambulance Trinity Lands has donated to St John; the organisation’s late chair Ian Elliott led a project to donate one to Tokoroa, where it’s affectionately known as The Trinny.
Trinity Lands has been growing kiwifruit in Te Puke for 20 years. Orchard employees were invited to the Te Puke ambulance dedication ceremony, and Mr McBride thanked them for the hard work that enables donations such as this.
“You make it all possible,” Mr McBride said.