Accident victim back to school
Six weeks ago, Samantha Robertson's young life hung in the balance.
She had been knocked off her bike by a car travelling on a 100kmh rural road and her injuries were at the worst end of severe.
Today, the plucky 10-year-old, whose recovery has been dubbed miraculous by the medical experts who helped save her life, is back at Pukekawa School.
As Sam recovers from wounds to her limbs and head, the fact that she's back in the classroom so soon after her near fatal accident is extraordinary.
"This has been the worst thing ever for any parent to go through, but Sam's recovery is the best possible outcome," her mother Sherry Coulson said.
"It's been an emotional rollercoaster and very scary. Sam is an only child - she's been such a blessing, a miracle from day one."
On January 30, Sam overshot the driveway of a friend's house on Morrison Rd, Pukekawa, and rode her bike into the path of a passing car.
She suffered severe head injuries and cuts and grazes.
She was in an induced coma at Starship Hospital for a week, then moved to High Dependency, with a week in the Wilson Centre before returning home to Pukekawa on February 24.
Today - apart from the scars healing on her head and limbs, Sam shows little, if no, effects of the accident.
"Sam's normal - she's the same girl she was before the accident, though she gets very tired if she thinks too hard," Sherry said.
For at least the next six months, Sam's physical activity will be monitored, as her skull hardens and recovers from trauma. "There'll be a lot of grey hairs for me over the next few months," Ms Coulson said.
On Friday, Sam, who wants to be a vet when she grows up, said she was "really looking forward to going back to school" though a little sad she missed out on camp last week.
"But when I finally heal my head, I can go across the road and climb the neighbour's tree."
She also wants to ride her pony, Barney, again soon, and go swimming once her bandages are off.
Sam said she was also keen to get back on a bike and "wasn't scared at all".
But Ms Coulson will ride with her, and they'll both be wearing helmets and high vis vests.
"I'm so paranoid about that road now [Morrison Rd]. When I can't find the dogs, my anxiety levels go through the roof," Sherry said.
She wants the council to reduce the speed limit from 100kmh. "Sam is the third child to be hit on that road - what do we need to do to get this [lower speed limit] to happen?"
Ms Coulson wanted to thank the Pukekawa community for its "amazing support" since Sam's accident - and Sam wanted to thank all her school mates.
"They made me a banner, and gave me cards, balloons and teddies," she said.
Ms Coulson said: "Six weeks ago, I never thought this would be possible - I can only thank those who prayed for Sam and who have shown us love. We are so grateful."