Woman who fell from tree recovering at home

INJURED: Anahera Rangitaawa.
INJURED: Anahera Rangitaawa.

A transgender woman seriously injured after falling from a tree has been discharged from hospital but has a long way to go before she fully recovers.

Anahera Rangitaawa, 33, was found lying on the ground near the entrance to the Copthorne Hotel on the corner of Fitzherbert Ave and Ferguson St, Palmerston North, on June 22 with extensive fractures to her head.

Despite her family initially fearing that she had been attacked, a police investigation determined her injuries were the result of falling from a tree.

Rangitaawa spent some time in Wellington Hospital's intensive care unit after the incident, but returned to Palmerston North to be cared for by her family this week.

Rangitaawa's mother, Mihiteruarewa "Rangi" Rangitaawa, said yesterday her daughter was up and out of bed, but had a long way to go before she recovered fully.

"She's talking and walking; she's not the same, but she's not at death's door like she was. She's not 100 per cent and won't be for a while."

Rangitaawa was in intensive care due to swelling of the brain. Though now out of hospital, she is not out of the woods.

"She's recovering really well, actually, but she's still not herself, and those who actually know her know she's not herself," said her mother.

"The things she's doing and saying, it's not Ange. But as the neurosurgeon says, when you get that much of an impact on the brain, it takes a while for the brain to heal."

A full-body 3D scan had revealed just how many fractures she had suffered.

"There's heaps of them, all through the back of her skull, especially the right side; they said there's nothing you can do except wait for the body to heal itself."

The incident had been difficult for the whole family, and she was not surprised people had raised concerns of an attack.

"When you physically walk into the room and see her all strapped up and her face is five times bigger than normal, and her right eye is almost off the body . . .

"Even the doctors said, ‘It looks like she's been attacked'," Rangi Rangitaawa said.

Despite the findings of police, she remained confused about what happened to her daughter that night.

"We've asked her and she doesn't remember anything from most of the night."

"A few of us have gone to the tree and taken photos of the tree, and had friends who had fallen from trees and had broken an arm and had fractures to the head, but not like this. But hey, we'll never know probably."

Detective Johnny Oram said yesterday police were comfortable with their findings and they had been clearly communicated to the family.

Manawatu Standard