Amazing Community Response to Paramedic Fundraiser

As a community we have now well and truly covered the short term costs, to employ a Locum Paramedic while Adam is on leave. 

The funds in excess will go towards a long term solution to support our paramedic service into the future.

Adam Johnston announced and welcomed the locum paramedic, Joy via Barrier ChitChat this week:

I had trained as a Registered Nurse in 1975 and still have a current practicing certificate. I worked at both Whangarei and Kaitaia Hospitals while raising my daughter, Dawn.

I joined St John at Whangarei as an ambulance volunteer in 1977, and when my husband Stewart was transferred to Kaitaia for work, I became an ambulance volunteer in Kaitaia as well as nursing at night, as Dawn was still a toddler then.

In 1990 I was employed as a rural Paramedic in Kaitaia. In those days I worked all week and was on call 24/7, often long hours in the old Bedford ambulances, later Falcon and Chevrolet ambulances, in horrible weather and poor roads. None of fancy stretchers or mod-cons we have now.

I qualified as an Intensive Care Paramedic in 2001, and moved with my husband Stewart to Wellsford to work as a Community Paramedic, often working with Dr Tim Malloy and his nurses.

We shifted to Orewa to be closer to my daughter where I worked as an Intensive Care Paramedic at Silverdale until I retired from full-time work last year.

Stewart died in 2007 from cancer so I moved in with Dawn and her husband Steve, in a quiet bush filled street in Albany.

I still work part-time as a casual Paramedic, and I have been with Hato Hone St John for 47 years.

I have a 2016 Harley Freewheeler trike that sits in the garage most of time as I don’t like cleaning it after a ride. Dawn, Steve and I brought a camper that needs a HT to drive – lucky I have a bus licence. Already been away pretending I am retired but not really. Between ambulance shifts I took the camper van up north helping family with fencing – hard not to keep farming.

I love animals. We have a Labrador who is nuts and has only one speed – flat out – and a cat that has dementia and forgets when she is fed and howls at my door.

I do paint. I have several paintings of birds that live on my property but like all painters I have to be in the mood to paint. [There are many of Joy’s beautiful paintings hanging in ambulance stations on the North Shore and Hibiscus Coast, so hopefully she finds her mojo while on Aotea].

I quilt and sew but once again it depends… [We’ve invited her to the quilting group that meets at the Claris conference centre on Thursdays].

I am looking forward to meeting everyone on Aotea and hopefully I may be encouraged to paint or just chill out and enjoy the surroundings.

I love travelling and have been to Middle East and seen the Holy Land before it was changed forever, however, I have yet to see all of NZ. My favourite place is Rakiura/Stewart Island having been there twice so far.

Let’s see if Aotea Great Barrier Island supersedes Rakiura. 😊
[Of course we will Joy, far warmer climate and people up here!]

Aroha, Joy 

If you would like to make contact with Joy while she is here, you can reach her at

From start to finish, find the whole story here in our previous issues.

Two weeks to raise $14,000 for qualified Paramedic cover for Aotea’s Ambulance

Update as of 29 April at 10am from Great Barrier Island Community Health Trust 

The Paramedic Fund sits at $19,370.00

The Health Trust is holding the excess in their account for future Paramedic Funding.

An amazing effort from everyone! Thank you Aotea!

Last issue, we covered volunteer paramedic Adam Johnston’s urgent call for change to ensure the island’s ambulance service is sustainable. Over 60 people attended a hui at the Barrier Social Club on Saturday, to show their support for this life-saving service. 

Here is a summary of the discussion:

Essentially Adam has been volunteering as a paramedic for 15 years, but he can no longer sustain this.

Short Term Issue

Adam is not available for two months starting from early May and we need to pay a paramedic to come over to the island to cover him. We currently have two amazing St Johns ambulance volunteers but what we’re missing is a qualified paramedic to work with them.

This requires $14,000. There is no St Johns funding available, as the island does not reach the threshold to receive funding for wages, so we (as in the community) need to raise the funds within the next two weeks.

If we can’t afford the cost of a locum paramedic, then we may not have an ambulance service while Adam is away (although of course we’ll still have our after-hours doctors and nurses who can attend any emergency).

Donations can be made to:

The Great Barrier Island Community Health Trust

Bank account:  12-3011-0531871-00

Reference: Paramedic 

As someone at the meeting said, if 1,000 people give just $14, we’re there!

Longer term, the proposal is to create a new role – a “community paramedic” – someone who does more than just the ambulance. In other words, they manage the ambulance but are also able to assist with primary care in the community. This would require funding of 40 hours per week, with a total cost of between $105,000 and $120,000 per annum. Funding would need to be sourced and managed by a local trust. This could be an existing trust, or a new one could be set up.

But for now, our focus is on the $14,000. If anyone can raise the money, we can!

Let’s go for it.

For more information and background, read our ‘Staying Alive’ article from last issue.

Adam Johnston installing an AED. Photo: Carol Comer

To listen to Adam’s full interview with Tim Higham on AoteaFM below:

Are you familiar with all the AED’s on the island and where there are located?

Visit to find out the exact location of all the AED’s on the island and how to access them in an emergency