The little Martinborough girl who was severely burnt by a candle last month has taken a major step in her recovery.

Arna Hopkins, 3, was burnt when she tried to light a candle in memory of her twin sister who had died due to a Down Syndrome-related illness. Arna has been in Auckland's Middlemore Hospital ever since.

She underwent a nine-hour surgery on Friday for skin grafts to her burns.

All her burns have been grafted although her family now must wait to see whether they have been successful.


Her uncle and family spokesman Kane Hopkins told the Times-Age the doctors were pleased with how the surgery went.

Arna will go into surgery again on Monday to assess if the grafts have taken.

"At the moment she's just being kept really clean and really still and they're just hoping the grafts will take," he said.

"If they take that will be a major step and if they don't the surgery will have to happen again."

He said it had been a "long weekend" for the family, especially Arna's mum, Penny, who had stayed at her bedside.

The rest of the family will join the pair this week to celebrate her brother Seb's fifth birthday.

"They're all going to be up there together and have a little bit of a party up in the hospital."

Mr Hopkins said it was something Penny was really looking forward to.

"We know she's eventually going to get out of there and get home, it's just a long, long road until then."

Meanwhile, people around the country are rallying to raise funds for the Hopkins family.

The Support for Arna Facebook page has nearly 15,000 likes and many messages of support and notices of fundraisers around the country.

Donations can be made to: Support for Arna, National Bank a/c 06-0689-0298651-00 or search "Support for Arna" on Facebook.