The recovery of a Martinborough girl who was severely burned at her home almost a fortnight ago is slowly moving towards the positive, but every turn brings its own complications, her uncle says.

Arna Hopkins, 3, suffered burns to half her body on September 12 after she tried to light a candle in memory of her twin sister, Mila, who died of a Down syndrome-related illness last month.

It was thought Arna saw her parents, Regan and Penny Hopkins, lighting a candle after the death of Mila and tried to do the same.

Family spokesman Kane Hopkins, Arna's uncle, said yesterday that while she was starting to do more things for herself, it was making her quite agitated.


"For a 3-year-old now with the realisation of what has happened, it's pretty distressing for her," Mr Hopkins said.

"As she starts to do things more for herself, like breathing, there are some associated complications with that and it's just having to manage those things."

He said Arna was scheduled to have significant skin-graft surgery today.

Medical staff at the Starship hospital and her family were just trying to keep her as calm and relaxed as they could in preparation for the surgery on some of her more serious burns.

Arna was able to acknowledge her parents at her bedside for the first time on Friday.

"It's still moving towards the positive, but it's still just really baby steps.

"Everything is slow and we're just really happy that she knows her parents are there, that they are able to provide as much comfort as they can."