Crash victim Kimberly McNeill is battling her way back to health, just weeks after doctors turned off her life support, saying the teenager had no hope of recovery.

The Havelock North 18-year-old is still in hospital a month after her car smashed into a power pole on December 27, but yesterday her condition had improved from serious to stable.

Her family said love and prayers and her strength of spirit would help her to a full recovery.

Kimberly's father, James McNeill, said her internal injuries had healed remarkably well but her head injury might take longer.

She was in critical condition when she was temporarily transferred to Auckland City Hospital late last month. Doctors there gave Kimberly a bad prognosis and felt there was nothing more they could do for her, Mr McNeill said.

She was taken off life support, but Kimberly survived on her own.

"It wasn't surprising, knowing Kim. She is a real fighter," her father said. "We are so grateful for all the loving staff and therapists that helped her through."

Kimberly's parents, who practise acupuncture in Hawkes Bay, contacted experts to give her herbal and acupuncture treatments. She was likely to start rehabilitation next week.

"What she needs now is lots of love, rest, recuperation and the right kind of rehabilitation," Mr McNeill said.

"She is in the right place in Hawkes Bay to get all of this and the staff at Hawkes Bay Hospital have been absolutely amazing."

Kimberly was in a deep coma when admitted to hospital but has been improving rapidly.

"Kimberly's youth, fitness and strength of spirit give her a distinct advantage and we are expecting a full recovery. Each day she's doing more and more stuff," Mr McNeill said.

"Yesterday, she was trying to get out of bed. I can see her making such good progress."

Her programme of physiotherapy and speech therapy would be enhanced with acupuncture, Chinese herbs and homeopathy.

"We believe this to be the way of the future, available in other countries but not yet in the New Zealand health system," Mr McNeill said.

"Kimberly also had other complementary therapies and spiritual healing but, most importantly, she had the love and prayers of all who know and love her."

Support from friends and relatives had helped the family and they were grateful to the warm and caring staff at Hawkes Bay Hospital.

"Kim's wide network of friends became very involved from the outset," Mr McNeill said.

"She has the nicest bunch of friends, singing to her and joking, keeping her up with the gossip."

Her friends had bought her a nightgown which read, "Half asleep but still fabulous", he said. "Anyone could survive on this type of love."

Kimberly was on her way to Gisborne's Rhythm and Vines music festival when she crashed near her home, just before 6am.

Police are still investigating the cause of the crash.

- APN