A quick-thinking 11-year-old boy and a computer chair saved precious time and quality of life when Vinnie Smith suffered a stroke on Christmas Eve while glazing the Christmas ham.

His son Jordan Smith not only acted to save his father but even saved the ham.

Mr Smith was at home in Tauranga, glazing the Christmas ham and making a potato salad, when he sat down to watch the news. "My eyes went cross-eyed," said Mr Smith, 43.

"I'd only had one beer so thought I was maybe dehydrated."

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Mr Smith got up from the couch and did a "very serious drunken walk" to put the second glaze on the ham.

He then felt a tingle in his mouth, and tried to text his wife, Liz Smith, a nurse at Tauranga Hospital, but was unable to operate the cellphone.

"My left arm wasn't working and my head collapsed on to the kitchen bench," Mr Smith said. He managed through his slurred speech to call to Jordan, who quickly came to his aid.

"I put him on the office chair and he started leaning to the left side," Jordan said. The fit, healthy non-smoker was suffering from a stroke.

Jordan rang his mother, who told him to call 111. He told the 111 operators, "my dad can't speak properly".

The emergency staff were able to use a medicine on Mr Smith which returned him to full health.

"It has a four-hour window, so time is of the essence," Mrs Smith said.

"It's thanks to Jordan for his quick response. If he hadn't, [Vinnie] probably would still have the weakness."

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Mr Smith praised Jordan's calm. "He had everything under control".

Jordan, who will be at Aquinas College next year, was hailed as a "little hero" by the staff at A&E for his flawless response. Mr Smith said Jordan even turned off the oven, stopping the ham from overcooking.