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The NZ Flying Doctor Service: Crusaders’ official charity partner for the Farmlands Cup

The Crusaders are pleased to be partnering with the New Zealand Flying Doctor Service as our charity partner for the 2023 Farmlands Cup. 


We take on the Highlanders at Weston RFC, Oamaru, on Friday 10 Feb, the boys’ first proper hit out ahead of Super Rugby Pacific Round 1 on 24 February. 


Should we win the heralded heartland clash, Farmlands will donate $5000 to the New Zealand Flying Doctor Service. Ka pai Farmlands, awesome. 


Christine Prince, NZ Flying Doctor Service CEO, said they massively valued their relationship with the Crusaders, and their ambassador Sam Whitelock. 


“We’re so thrilled to be in a position to be supported by the Crusaders,” Prince said. 


“We will be going all out to support them 100 per cent for the Farmlands Cup – we’re all such big Crusaders fans. 


“We’ve got a special relationship with Sam Whitelock. He’s known of two babies and their families that had to use the service and he’s come down to the base several times to meet the crew.” 


The crucial air transit service is partially funded by Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand, but there was a significant deficit every year. 


“It’s an expensive service we run. We have a fundraising target of $3 million a year which helps with the day to day operation, upgrades, maintenance and new equipment, so we’re constantly asking the community for support,” Prince said. 


Their service may not be as well known as the rescue helicopter because it’s not as visible and not as loud, but they were just as busy – they flew more than 1200 missions last year. 


Their crew are based between Christchurch and Nelson, and they operate three planes – with one more in the pipeline. Anywhere from Greymouth, Invercargill, Christchurch, if a patient needs to be transferred from hospital to hospital, the NZ Flying Doctor Service is there. 


Colin Mansbridge, Crusaders CEO, said the NZ Flying Doctor Service provided a crucial service to Crusaders region. 


“We’re thrilled to partner with the NZ Flying Doctor Service and the boys will be striving to win knowing it’ll secure some funding for the service,” Mansbridge said. 


“A big part of who the Crusaders are is about crusading for good, and these guys deliver that in spades. 


The Farmlands Cup v Highlanders kicks off 5:30pm, Friday 10 Feb. Catch the live stream on the Crusaders Facebook page