The Christchurch community has rallied around the grandmother of a special needs boy who's never been invited to a birthday party.

Jonty Payne, 4, has congenital scoliosis, a sideways curvature of the spine caused by a birth defect.

He also has language delay and limited motor skills.

Though he plays with other kids at kindergarten, where he's been for about two years, his grandmother and caregiver Donna Payne, 50, says he's never been invited to a party.


She worried that when Jonty turns five next month, other kids would not celebrate his big day with him.

Jonty will have a spectacular fifth birthday - all thanks to the support of community. Photo / Supplied
Jonty will have a spectacular fifth birthday - all thanks to the support of community. Photo / Supplied

She mentioned her concerns to Kelly Dugan, who runs charity SmileDial, which supports families who have a child with an ongoing medical condition or disability.

"She was a bit worried about him having no friends to come to his party, so I said I'd organise something," Dugan said.

"I was thinking about 10 kids would come along, but it's looking like it'll be more like 300 or 400 now."

He said he's had offers of gifts and donations for the party from people in New Zealand and around the world.

But Dugan said the most touching was the parents who'd called to say their children would like to be friends with Jonty.

Payne said she was overwhelmed by the number of people wanting to celebrate her grandson - who she's cared for since he was a baby and calls her 'mum.'

"It's great that he'll have kids to celebrate the day with him, because five is a big birthday."

Jonty and his grandmother and fulltime caregiver Donna Payne. Photo / Supplied
Jonty and his grandmother and fulltime caregiver Donna Payne. Photo / Supplied

The party will be a surprise for the little boy, who she says has a great sense of humour, a rascally streak and no fear.

Dugan said the party would be held at the Christchurch Botanical Gardens on October 29 - and due to the size he would have to speak to the local council about the event.

"We've already got a cake company on board that are going to make a three-tier Thomas the Tank Engine cake because he loves Thomas.

"Jonty hasn't had the easiest life so far but he's still a great kid and now all of a sudden he's getting an amazing birthday."


News Feed

Due to the huge response we have received for Jonty I have opened an event page. You will find all the information you need in the pinned post, please contact me at with questions. Thank you NZ.

OK SmileDial community can we get together and do something special for a kid? This photo is of a SmileDial kid called Jonty, Jonty has many challenges and has had a rough few years with on going spinal surgeries ...among other medical issues. Yesterday I spoke with Jonty's grandmother (and full time carer) and she is worried about Jonty's fifth birthday on the 29th of October. Jonty finds it hard to make friends and she is concerned nobody will come if she has a party for him. So can we all get together and make Jonty's birthday amazing. SmileDial will have a party for Jonty and I am looking for a great venue, entertainers, gifts, food, cake and everything he needs to have an amazing party. Can you help? I will post on this page a week from his birthday with his address so peopel can send cards, gifts or just happy birthday letters. We will invite all SmileDial kid's and families to attend the birthday so Jonty has loads of friends to celebrate his birthday.

Thank you everyone
Kelly Boy

My mate Jason from SMOOCH has started the donations with $20, cheers Jason.

If you would like to donate to Jonty's birthday please make donations into the SmileDial account and put JONTY in the reference (so we know it is for him).

SmileDial – Kiwibank

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To find out more about supporting or attending Jonty's fifth birthday go to