Cyclist airlifted to hospital after crashing while raising money for rescue helicopters


Rob Meadows and friends were cycling the length of the country to raise money for Northland rescue helicopters when he needed rescuing.

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Rob Meadows and friends were cycling the length of the country to raise money for Northland rescue helicopters when he needed rescuing.

A charity rider has learnt first-hand the value of the rescue helicopters he was attempting to raise money for.

Whangārei cyclist Rob Meadows needed the help of a rescue helicopter while he and five friends were cycling the length of the country to raise funds for Northland Emergency Services Trust.

Meadows went flying over the handlebars when his front wheel hit a pothole, in Pureora Forest Park near Taupō.

With a broken collar bone and broken ribs, he needed the assistance of Taupō Greenlea Rescue Helicopter to get to Waikato Hospital.

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The accident proved the value of New Zealand’s rescue helicopters, Meadows said.

“You never know when you are going to need a rescue chopper service – be that in Northland or, as I found out, anywhere else around the country!”

Rob Meadows, and his bike, got a ride in Taupō's rescue helicopter.

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Rob Meadows, and his bike, got a ride in Taupō’s rescue helicopter.

​Taupō’s rescue helicopter, Greenlea, came under threat in 2018 when the Ministry of Health wanted to dissolve regional helicopter bases in Taupō, Rotorua and Te Anau. 

A protest of more than 1000 people helped secure the Taupō service.

Meadows said he had a new appreciation for the rescue service.

The Northland Emergency Services Trust benefitted by $5650 from Rob Meadows and his cycling friends.

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The Northland Emergency Services Trust benefitted by $5650 from Rob Meadows and his cycling friends.

His friends managed to make it to Bluff, raising $5651 through Givealittle for the Northland rescue helicopters.

“The rest of my team completed the trip in 23 days and on behalf of them all I want to thank everyone who donated – thank you.”

The team was riding as part of Tour Aotearoa, a 3000km cycle down the length of the country.

The group left Cape Reinga on February 17, and Meadows had his accident on day seven.

After a couple of days in hospital, he is now recovering at home, using apps to continue virtual races.

Meadows said Tour Aotearoa was so much fun, he was disappointed when the accident ruined his adventure.

He hopes to take part in the next event in 2022, again raising money for the Northland service.