Morgan Tait is the NZ Herald's police reporter.

Hokey pokey awaits Matisse after 6 years away

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After six years of life-threatening operations in an American hospital, Napier girl Matisse Reid will celebrate her homecoming with hokey pokey icecream on Wednesday.

Matisse, 12, underwent a stomach, duodenum, pancreas, small and large bowel transplant in December 2010 at a Pittsburgh Hospital after being born with a rare disease which meant she was unable to eat and had to be fed through a tube.

Her family have lived in the US since 2007 to wait for the vital operation and manage her recovery.

Grandmother Kathy Hands said it was an exciting time, especially as a complication had delayed the Reids' original touchdown date.

"It has been an exciting day getting this news," she said. "We just can't believe it, it's just absolutely wonderful, after six years they are coming home."

The family were due to return before Christmas, but yet another health upset delayed them.

Mrs Hands said Matisse's wish was to celebrate her homecoming "with hokey-pokey icecream and a Crunchie bar".

The family were to move back into their Napier home and prepare for the start of the school year.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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