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Tai Pakeke Danny’s Rich History with Wellington Free Ambulance

Tai Pakeke Danny’s Rich History with Wellington Free Ambulance

Tai Pakeke Danny’s Rich History with Wellington Free Ambulance

As a young boy, Danny always wanted to give back to the ambulance service who helped save his life. Keep reading to follow his special journey with Wellington Free Ambulance, and how together with your support, we can make a difference to people in need just like that young boy at Balaena Bay.

 Danny Karatea-Goddard blesses a new ambulance

Danny Karatea-Goddard believes it is a miracle he is alive today. At four years old he was struck by a truck while crossing the road at Balaena Bay. Wellington Free Ambulance responded, saving his life.

“I should have died that day, but Wellington Free Ambulance scraped me off the side of the road and saved my life. I spent a year of my life in hospital and started Mt Cook School in a wheelchair,” he explains.

“Wellington Free Ambulance have touched so many lives – mine personally and those we love and care for. They have given life, eased pain and, really, I owe my life to Wellington Free Ambulance.”

Decades later, Danny has grown up to be a prominent and busy man in the Pōneke region. With an extensive background in the education sector and years as the past-president at Pipitea Marae, Danny's mahi includes being a Kaumātua for a number of organisations. He is also recognised as a Deacon and was recently appointed Co-Chief Executive of the Sisters of Compassion.

When Wellington Free Ambulance reached out to Danny and asked him to be our Tai Pakeke – a Māori leader - he accepted without hesitation.

“It was a way I can give back to a family that enabled to me to walk and live again, and got me back to where I am today,” he says.

“I help provide a Māori presence at a senior level to assist with Māori and iwi engagement, and to navigate a way forward. I will also be supporting Wellington Free Ambulance in developing their Māori Health Strategy.”

Because Wellington Free Ambulance holds such a special place in his heart, Danny was very pleased to be able to give back as our Tai Pakeke, no matter how busy he is. The start of his mahi occurred earlier this year in May, with a Mihi Whakatau held at Pipitea Marae – the first of its kind in a number of years for Wellington Free Ambulance.

“What is special for Wellington Free Ambulance, is their Headquarters sit on the original Pipitea Pa site and on a prime special and sacred part of land. I am so glad Wellington Free Ambulance has that connection, not only a historical connection but the start of a new relationship and friendship that benefits both sides and endures,” Danny explains.

“Building community, engaging with Māori and bringing of aspects of Māori culture so it's normalised is a direction many organisations are heading towards. Wellington Free Ambulance is on the beginning of this journey, and this is a signal that incorporating Māori into Wellington Free Ambulance is an important step for the organisation, for Māori health, and the community.”

From clinging to life on the side of Balaena Bay, those first interactions with our paramedics were the start of a vast and colourful history with Wellington Free Ambulance with Danny now playing an instrumental role at Wellington Free Ambulance today.


You can help save lives like Danny’s and keep our lifesaving work free of charge, by signing up or donating to Wellington Free Ambulance’s Onesie Appeal.  Click here to find out more.



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