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Third helicopter house set to break fundraising record – but will be the toughest build yet

Reverend Tremain Mikaere, who arrived by helicopter, blessed the construction.

Andy MacDonald/Stuff

Reverend Tremain Mikaere, who arrived by helicopter, blessed the construction.

It could break fundraising records, but a shortage of supplies and labour mean Nelson’s latest helicopter house is shaping up to be the toughest build yet.

For the third time, Mitre 10 Mega Nelson is partnering with local organisations to raise funds for the Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter Trust (NMRHT) by building a house to be auctioned off for charity.

On Saturday morning, Reverend Tremain ​Mikaere​ touched down in the rescue helicopter to bless the build, as well as the chopper, as it gears up for a busy summer season.

In 2017 the build raised $142,000 for NMRHT’s Rescue Helicopter’s endowment trust. Two years later, a repeat performance netted $210,000 for the service.

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Mitre 10 Mega marketing manager Murray Leaning hoped to hit as much as $300,000 this time round.

However, Covid-related factors meant this build would be challenging, he said.

“Supply chain and labour shortages have made this year harder than the previous two,” Leaning said.

“Some [suppliers] have been extraordinarily generous. [However], when there’s a building material shortage, suppliers are less likely to give [materials] to us free.”

It's up to us to support the work of the Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter, said Mitre 10 marketing manager Murray Leaning.

Andy MacDonald/Stuff

It’s up to us to support the work of the Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter, said Mitre 10 marketing manager Murray Leaning.

This has meant casting a wider net for favours – and some “begging and pleading”, Leaning said.

Designed by Premier Services architectural designer Scott MacKay, the 145-square metre house will have a contemporary look, Leaning said.

The team had learned from experience: building on what worked, while avoiding previous pitfalls.

“The first [house] was beautiful, but too long for the house transporter,” Leaning said. “We had to cut it in half and put it back together. I’m not ever doing that again because that was really freaky.”

The team was on the lookout for gib stoppers, painters and anyone with skills to pitch in, he said.

Leaning hoped people would remember the value of the rescue helicopter in the community.

With other income streams like fundraising events and charitable trust donations drying up, the service was behind on its fundraising, he said.

To support the chopper, you can make a Paywave donation at Mitre10. There’s also a coin-operated helicopter ride for children, with all proceeds going to the charity.



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