A mother has praised the heroics of soldiers who saved her daughter's life after a five-car crash in Kumeu.
New Zealand Special Air Service personnel clambered into the wrecked car where six-year-old Rangimarie Timoti was trapped and kept her airway open until emergency services arrived.
"It was like these angels coming to help, " mum Karen Murdoch says.
"This truck full of army people in camouflage just jumped out and took over the scene."
The Whenuapai resident was also injured in the smash outside a childcare centre where she teaches.
Her daughter's legs were trapped and they could not get her out.
"They just took over from me and held her head up until the fire brigade came and cut her car seat out."
Rangimarie was placed in an induced coma after suffering a brain bleed, a compound fracture of the spine and a broken ankle in the pile- up on State Highway 16.
The Whenuapai School student has just been brought out of the coma at Starship hospital and is saying a few basic words.
"She's got a long road to recovery but I'm sure she's going to get there. She's a strong girl."
Rangimarie was so ill she missed dad Joe Timoti's birthday on October 5.
Mum Karen celebrates her coming of age today while keeping vigil at her bedside.
"We thought we'd have a big party when we get out, " Murdoch says.
Rangimarie is the youngest of six and plays netball for her school. She also performs in the Kahurangi ki Kaipara Kapahaka group of South Kaipara.
Murdoch describes her as a much-loved child with an outgoing personality.
"We have family members at her bedside 24 hours a day."
Murdoch is still wearing a neck brace from concussion and whiplash after the collision at the start of the school holidays.
Rangimarie was going to play at Building Blocks Childcare and Preschool centre where her mother has worked for nearly 12 years.
"She was so looking forward to the holidays."
Murdoch says she is touched by the get-well messages, baking and money flooding in to the family.
Members of the Kumeu fire brigade who cut Rangimarie's car seat out of the wreck gave the little girl a giant stuffed elephant.
"We're just totally thankful, " Murdoch says.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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