Distance and Flight Times from Christchurch

​​ Nautical Miles from ChchFlight TimeFlight TimeNight Landing
  Cessna 441BK117 HJG
Auckland4081:44 Yes
Chatham Islands4761:44 No
Dunedin1790:59 Yes
Greymouth1020:42 No
Hamilton3631:34 Yes
Hastings3071:26 Yes
Hokitika830:37 Yes
Invercargill2501:10 Yes
Nelson1390:47 Yes
New Plymouth3301:28 Yes
Whanganui2471:15 Yes
Wellington1660:53 Yes
Westport1560:52 Yes
Woodbourne (Blenheim)1600:50 Yes

Times are in hours and minutes, are conservative, and include approximately 10-15 minutes for engine start, warm-up aircraft taxi, and air traffic control delays.


Each destination has unique facilities and resources.  This must be taken into account when planning any retrieval.  In addition, each hospital has variable equipment and staffing levels all of which vary and may impact on the retrieval team.  Clinical emergencies that may be common place in a tertiary level hospital may provoke high levels of anxiety from staff in remote areas and increase the urgency for a particular mission.

It is the role of the CARS to provide clinical guidance and support for the patients they retrieve and to the staff involved in the patient's care, not criticism of the care the patient may or may not have received thus far.


  • Short term ventilation – limited number of skilled nursing staff
  • Limited medical & specialist cover
  • No air access at night – fly to Hokitika and drive up from there



  • Anaesthetist run ICU, can ventilate for days to weeks
  • Limited cardiology and renal support
  • Road trip = 2 hours each way
  • Fixed wing flight time is 30 minutes + driving to airports at either end
  • Helicopter = 35 minutes flight time, lands at door



  • Full medical, surgical, orthopaedic and paediatric services
  • Full ICU – can ventilate patients for days to weeks
  • Refer to Chch for spinal patients, plastic surgery, some orthopaedics and paediatric surgery



  • Rural Hospital specialist on call
  • Patients stabilised and held in Acute Assessment area
  • Small ventilator can provide only 1-2 hours support
  • Road access, one hour each way
  • Helicopter, 25 minute flight



  • Medical, surgical and orthopaedic services, limited paediatrics
  • Anaesthetist on call
  • Small ventilator for few hours support only
  • Usually refer to Wellington



  • Full surgical and medical support
  • Anaesthetic / medically run ICU, can ventilate at least overnight
  • Usually refer to Wellington


  • GP run service
  • Most "moveable" patients referred to Greymouth
  • Limited access in adverse weather
  • May need to take additional supplies, eg: blood products, muscle relaxants

Chatham Islands

  • GP run service
  • Limited access in adverse weather
  • May need to take additional supplies, e.g. blood products, muscle relaxants
  • 2 hour flight there and 2 hour flight back
  • Very limited resources

rounded corners top

Related Documents

rounded corners bottom
Page last reviewed: 05 December 2016