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For the ''Good in the Hood'' promotion, which ran throughout March, Z gave away $1 million across the country - $4000 in every centre.
In Queenstown, anyone who bought anything at the Frankton Rd station was given an orange chip to be dropped into one of four boxes, representing Wakatipu LandSAR, the Arrowtown Volunteer Fire Brigade, the St John Health Shuttle and Victim Support Wakatipu.
Z retailer Lynne Burns, of Queenstown, said groups were nominated and the Z head office short-listed nominees.
The key criterion for selection was the group had to be ''people orientated''.
The short list was then narrowed down to the selected four by the respective Z stations.
Wakatipu LandSAR committee member Ed Halson said the much-needed donation would be put to good use.
''We can spend it on anything we can't get funding for. Believe me, we really appreciate it.''
Mr Halson said one of the main streams of funding had been the police diversion scheme - first-time offenders accused of lower-end crimes could be offered diversion if they met certain criteria.
If an offender was offered diversion, Wakatipu LandSAR was one of the organisations the diverted person could choose to pay a donation to.
Now, however, the search and rescue group was not part of the scheme, as police more focused on preventive groups, such as those dealing with domestic violence, he said.
''Now we're really struggling. It was a huge part of our funding stream.''
The group comprised volunteers who could be called out at any time, in any conditions, sometimes for days on end, to rescue those in need.
It also spoke to those who had been lost, so they could understand what had happened and how it could be prevented.
While LandSAR could apply to major funding agencies, Mr Halson said donations such as that from Z helped to upgrade or replace smaller items.
''There are pieces of equipment that are too small to bother funding agencies with, like really good compasses ... and whistles.''