Wheelchairs for those in need
Royal New Zealand Air Force aircraft routinely carry special cargo and a flight to Fiji yesterday was no exception.
A special consignment of 20 wheelchairs and two walkers was taken to Nadi, Fiji, by an RNZAF Boeing 757 on a scheduled flight.
They were donated by a private company in Hamilton and given to Reverend Stephen Black, from the Waikato Taranaki Anglican Diocese.
“These will be gifted to and distributed by the Spinal Injury Association, a not-for-profit charitable organisation based in Suva, which provides wheelchairs and other mobility devices free of charge to those in need,” Reverend Stephen says.
Air Component Commander Air Commodore Tim Walshe says the RNZAF happily took charitable freight on flights when possible.
“We’re very pleased to be able to help a good cause like this one,” he says.
Assessments and fittings for mobility devices provided by the Spinal Injury Association are carried out by a trained team of professional therapists.
The team also travels throughout Fiji providing services and equipment to hospitals, schools and clinics, especially to areas affected by emergencies.
Michael Hartfield of Anglican Missions, which supports a number of development and humanitarian projects in the Pacific, contacted the RNZAF to see if it could help.
“These wheelchairs will greatly improve the mobility of the people who receive them,” he says. “We’re very grateful that the Air Force was able to help get them to Fiji.”
Over the years special cargo flown by the RNZAF has included humanitarian disaster relief supplies, donated books and clothing, and even an elephant, two crocodiles and kiwi.