Andrew McMartin |

More than 17,500 people have been empowered with first aid and lifesaving skills, thanks to the annual Hato Hone St John Shocktober campaign.

Dozens of communities hosted free events across the country in October, with thousands of New Zealanders learning skills to help when someone in cardiac arrest, including calling 111, how to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED).

Jacci Tatnell, Hato Hone St John Head of Community Education, says the organisation is “absolutely thrilled” with the response to this year’s campaign.

“Hato Hone St John would like to sincerely thank the more than 17,500 people who joined us on our lifesaving mission.

“Your enthusiasm, along with the support of our major partner ASB and our incredible volunteers across the motu, means more New Zealanders have the knowledge and confidence to help save lives.

“By embracing our Shocktober campaign, you’ve played a crucial role in building a stronger, healthier, more resilient Aotearoa, and more people now have greater access to lifesaving help.”

Mark Graham, ASB Executive Manager Commercial Partnerships, says the organisation is a proud supporter of community lifesaving efforts.

“We know how critical first aid skills are and the difference they make in an emergency. The lifesaving skills imparted through the Shocktober campaign, along with having AEDs readily available in all our branches, is an important way we are stepping up for our community.”

This year’s Shocktober campaign, dubbed the Heartbeat Highway tour, had a particular focus on empowering people in rural and isolated communities, with a number of free events held in partnership with ASB, including in Kaitaia.

ASB Kaitaia Branch Manager James Phillips knows all too well how crucial lifesaving skills are after he and his staff helped a bank customer who experienced a cardiac arrest earlier this year.

“It’s surreal to think what could have happened if we hadn’t undergone proper training. That moment is a true testament to the importance of educating all New Zealanders with these essential skills,” he says.

Shocktober aims to tackle one of the leading causes of death in New Zealand: cardiac arrest.

About six people experience cardiac arrest every day, with only one in ten surviving. Despite the alarming statistics, survival rates can more than double if fast, effective treatment is administered by someone with the right skills.

Subscribe to our RSS FeedHHSJ Website Donate WidgetSt John first aid TrainingFeel Safe with a St John medical alarm