Rangimarie out of coma and starting to walk
A little girl is rallying at a rehabilitation home after a five-car crash in Kumeu left her in an induced coma.
Six-year-old Rangimarie Timoti of Whenuapai is responding well to rehabilitation and physiotherapy at the Wilson Centre for Children in Takapuna, mum Karen Murdoch says.
"We can be thankful because at the start we didn't know how she was going to come out," Ms Murdoch says.
"She's doing really well because she's pretty strong and determined."
The Whenuapai School student sustained a brain bleed, a compound fracture of the spine and a broken ankle in the pile-up on State Highway 16 last month.
New Zealand Special Air Service personnel stopped at the scene and kept Rangimarie alive until emergency crews arrived. The camouflage-clad soldiers were believed to be driving to Woodhill Forest for a shooting exercise when they saw the smash.
They clambered into the car where she lay trapped and kept her airway open.
Ms Murdoch suffered concussion and whiplash after the crash at the start of the school holidays.
She says her daughter had a feeding tube removed on October 31 and is savouring the taste of solid food.
"She was hanging out for McDonald's so her big brother Hemi bought her a happy meal."
The accident victim is walking again with support but she tires easily.
"The doctors want her walking out of here, not in a wheelchair."
Rangimarie's voice is quieter than normal and her throat is smaller because of scarring from the breathing tubes.
Surgeons will place a balloon in her throat to keep it open until it heals.
Ms Murdoch says she is not in a rush to get Rangimarie home as she wants to ensure she is completely better.