Mystery of the poker through toddler's tongue

17:47, Jan 29 2014
Ezra Mataki
UNFAZED: Ezra Mataki happily sits with his mum Luana while he plays with the poker that impaled his tongue.

When Luana Mataki shows her 2-year-old son Ezra the fire poker that impaled his tongue, he points at his face and says "mouth".

The brave Kaiapoi toddler has been unable to say much else since his freak accident in Hanmer Springs about 11.20am on Tuesday.

The handle end of the wrought iron fire poker, which was about the size of a ballpoint pen, went right through the middle of his tongue.

Ezra Mataki
OUCH: The X-ray shows the poker pierced through Ezra's tongue.

His family still has no idea how he did it.

Mataki and her partner, Tetumu Rolleston, had taken their eight children for an impromptu night away in Hanmer Springs.

They stayed Monday night, but never made it to the hot pools.


"I was having a shower. I heard him [Ezra] scream and jumped out and he had this thing hanging out of his mouth," Mataki said.

She and Rolleston, 45, bundled Ezra into the car and drove to the town's medical centre, where he was given pain relief and met by a Westpac rescue helicopter.

Mother and son were flown to Christchurch Hospital, where Ezra underwent surgery to remove the offending poker.

Mataki, 40, said both she and her son were surprisingly calm throughout the ordeal.

"He was really really good. I actually had two or three nurses come up to me at the hospital and comment on how calm I was."

Ezra was discharged from hospital yesterday, with a swollen tongue and, possibly, a lesson learnt.

"He's a box of birds today," she said.

"It's purely a guessing game as to how he actually did it. His brother has had a few crashes and bangs, but none of them have done anything like this.

She still has the poker, which she hopes to keep as a memento for his 21st birthday.

The Press