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‘He’s a little warrior’: Whanganui hit-and-run victim out of coma, ‘doing awesome’

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The recovery of John Major Taurua-McKay is progressing faster than doctors expected.

The recovery of a 6-year-old Castlecliff boy involved in a hit-and-run has surprised even the doctors working with him, according to the boy’s family.

John Major Taurua McKay has been in Starship Children’s Hospital since last week following the incident.

The boy, known as Major to his family, was struck by a car as he and his four brothers were crossing a road on the way home from a park in Castlecliff.

He suffered brain injuries, multiple skull fractures and broken ribs and was taken to Starship in a critical condition before being put in a medically induced coma.


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Major’s uncle John Taurua said since then, his recovery had been progressing better than had been expected by his doctors.

“He’s a little warrior,” Taurua said.

He woke up from his coma on Thursday, and since then he had been making slow but positive progress towards recovery each day.

“Everything’s been progressing well ahead of where everybody thought he might be,” Taurua said.


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“This time last week, we thought, ‘Are we expecting a child that going to be brain damaged?’ and whatnot, but nah, he’s doing awesome.”

Taurua said there were promising signs of recovery, including Major recognising his family and answering questions when asked, with his hand-eye co-ordination also slowly improving.

He is now undergoing small amounts of physiotherapy and speech therapy and had been taken off of some medication.

Major’s extended family had been visiting the hospital throughout his recovery period to help his mother and siblings.

Taurua said the family was thankful for the amount of support they had received from the Whanganui community.

“From the schools, the friends, the family, to people who didn’t even know him – we can’t thank the community enough for everything that’s happened,” he said.

A Givealittle page was started to help fund Major’s recovery but has now stopped fundraising, with a total of $21,645 being raised.

Taurua said they did not expect to raise the amount of money they did, which will go a long way to supporting Major and his family.

“My sister [Major’s mother], she’s a beneficiary with five boys, and it was all about trying to give her a little bit of help while she’s up here.

“With what’s happened, it’s out of this world,” Taurua said.


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The doctors hadn’t given a timeline of how long Major was expected to be in recovery and rehabilitation, but he would stay in Starship for the entirety of it.

His physiotherapy would continue, but for now, it consisted of small tasks like taking a couple of steps in and out of his wheelchair.

New Zealand Police said the driver involved in the accident has been identified, along with the vehicle.

Inquiries into the incident are ongoing.

Finn Williams is a multimedia journalist for the Whanganui Chronicle. He joined the Chronicle in early 2022 and regularly covers stories about business, events and emergencies. He also enjoys writing opinion columns on whatever interests him.

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