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Keep Starship Flying - a 'critical lifeline' for all NZ children like Luke

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

When Southland baby Luke’s tiny heart began to fail the care he needed was at Starship - a 1637km, 23-hour drive away.

Starship’s National Air Ambulance service plays a critical role in our healthcare system, retrieving critically sick or injured children, like Luke, from regions up and down Aotearoa New Zealand. Ready to go at a moment’s notice it flies on average every 48 hours to help a family facing their toughest times.

When a child needs to get to Starship urgently, every kilometre counts. Last year the Starship National Air Ambulance flew more than 110,000km and 141 retrieval missions. During Covid lockdown it is one of the only planes in the sky.

This vital service, needed by families around the country, relies on the support of everyday New Zealanders and the Starship Foundation is asking kind-hearted Kiwis to help. The Starship National Air Ambulance service needs more monthly donors to ensure it’s ready to fly 24/7 365 days of the year, for precious infants and children like Luke.

Today Luke is a happy, animal-loving five year-old living life on the family farm in the remote Southland district of Five Rivers. Parents Hannah and Craig are one of many families truly grateful for Starship’s ‘flying intensive care unit’ and the specialist air retrieval staff that fly.

"If it wasn’t for the incredible expertise and speed of the Starship Ambulance team then Luke would no longer be with us," says Hannah.

Dr John Beca, Starship Clinical Director, Medical and Surgical explains why this is such a vital service;

"Accidents and illness can happen to our children anywhere in New Zealand. Starship has New Zealand’s only dedicated paediatric intensive care unit, and any child requiring anything more than short term intensive care comes to Starship. The Starship National Air Ambulance service ensures that any child, regardless of where they are, gets the care and treatment they need."

The Starship Foundation contributes $1.5 million annually to help keep the Starship National Air Ambulance service flying. The Lindsay Foundation is a key supporter and has generously donated $500,000 this year.

The Starship Foundation is encouraging kind-hearted New Zealanders to join others who donate monthly to keep the Starship Air Ambulance flying year round.

Visit to sign up for a regular donation amount that suits you, or to make a one-off donation today.

Watch more of Luke’s story in this video >

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