An Easter-themed family event at Kaikohe's Pioneer Village aims to raise money for a Northland dad battling cancer.

Whitinga Harris, from Ōtaua, near Kaikohe, was diagnosed late last year with stage-four colon cancer which has spread to his stomach.

The 31-year-old is halfway though a 12-round course of chemotherapy but specialists say his best chance of having more time with his sons, aged 9 and 12, is an immunotherapy drug called Keytruda.

The trouble is, the drug is not publicly funded for his type of cancer and costs about $100,000.


Harris' family has been fundraising furiously via a Givealittle page and a series of events, including a Big Bunny Easter Event at the Pioneer Village on Kaikohe's Recreation Rd this Saturday.

The cash-only event will run from 11am-2pm, with $5 entry for kids aged 1-13. Adults and infants get in free.

Kids' activities will include an Easter egg competition, rock painting, nail art, craft tables, bouncy castles, train and pony rides, a baby shark dance competition and face painting.

There will also be plenty of food and spot prizes and best-dressed prizes will be awarded.

In another family fundraiser, Harris' cousin Haze Kopa is offering a special deal on tattoos and haircuts.

Anyone who visits his shop Tuturu Toi, at 152 Broadway in Kaikohe, between Monday, April 22, and Saturday, April 27, will be able to get a $100 tattoo or a haircut for $20. More than 100 tattoo designs will be available.

All proceeds from the Easter and tattoo/haircut fundraisers will go to the family's Givealittle campaign.

Spokeswoman Ruby Grace said Harris had a rough time last week but was doing well considering he was almost halfway through a 12-round course of chemotherapy.


So far the family has raised more than $42,000. To donate go to