Kirsty Wynn

Kirsty Wynn is a senior reporter at the Herald on Sunday.

Strangled boy all smiles

Child out of coma after near-death on a clothesline.

Manaaki with little brother Paul. Photo / Supplied
Manaaki with little brother Paul. Photo / Supplied

An 8-year-old boy who nearly died in a freak clothesline accident is out of a coma and smiling at friends and family members.

Manaaki Ropiha's dressing gown tie accidentally wrapped around his neck in the fall from his mother's washing line last weekend. He was woken from an induced coma on Wednesday and was now watching TV, talking a little and was grinning again.

"He is doing well and is smiling, he loves smiling," his mother Kara Ropiha said. "It is just amazing that he is recovering and doing so well."

Ropiha said it was a nervous wait for Manaaki to reopen his eyes. "I was like a mother hen waiting to see if the egg was going to hatch," Kara said. "It was a very scary moment but it was good as well. I feel very lucky."

Manaaki, who has ligament damage to his neck, has taken a few "wobbly steps" to the bathroom. "We have to stand beside him but he is doing well."

The Tamaki Primary pupil had been told what had happened but Ropiha said he was focusing on getting better.

"We don't want to rush him, we are letting him ask questions at his own pace and just letting him recover," she said.

The family were traumatised after Manaaki slipped while playing with a dressing gown tie pegged to the clothesline in his backyard.

With the cord around his neck, he was unable to call for help and quickly lost consciousness. Ropiha was unaware of what happened until she looked up to talk to him.

The distraught mum pulled her son down from the line and took him to a neighbour who performed CPR until emergency services arrived.

Victim Support visited neighbourhood children who were upset after seeing their friend undergoing CPR. Manaaki's 5-year-old sister Aroha had also been assessed in hospital to ensure she was coping.

Manaaki's family have been dealt another cruel blow when burglars struck while they were at the hospital.

Manaaki's aunty Sharon Ropiha said a lawn mower, cash and other items were stolen.

"Kara hasn't left the hospital since Manaaki was hurt so it is really bad that this has happened. Whoever did it went through a baby bag and took cash and a cheque. The family don't have a lot and they don't have insurance so they can't replace anything."

Kara Ropiha said friends and family had visited Manaaki every day and had been to her house since the burglary to tidy up. "I hear they have been there cleaning and doing things for me - they have been turning it into a palace for when we get back," she said.

- Herald on Sunday

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