The 14-year-old boy whose head was impaled by a metal stake in a pre-Christmas accident at Beachlands has stabilised and is expected to make a full recovery.
The Auckland boy suffered a gruesome injury when a metal stake, left behind from a real estate sign, penetrated the top of his skull and lodged the depth of a ballpoint pen vertically into his head. The teenager was sitting looking at his phone while friends played "chicken" nearby - throwing the stake into the air and dodging out of the way - when things went horrendously wrong.
Emergency services used specialised cutting gear to lop off part of the stake before the boy was airlifted to Starship hospital in a critical condition and lucky to be alive.
The boy's mother, who the Weekend Herald has chosen not to name, says a full recovery is expected, though it may be months until he can return home.
"He is pretty much out of the risk zone and improves a little bit each day," she said. "Next step from here will be a rehabilitation centre. We're not sure how long it will be before he's able to go home, between weeks and months. He is expected to make a full recovery, but there isn't a timeframe, it's step by step.
"I'd say it's not been his best Christmas ever. A lot of his time is spent sleeping which is essential for his recovery. He enjoys listening to music and having visitors in."
The mother said the past three weeks have been "heartbreaking" to watch her son go through the ordeal.
But knowing things could have been so much worse, she paid tribute to all the medical support, well-wishers and her son's friends for how they reacted to the accident.
One of the boys lay on the ground, cradling his mate's head on his shoulder, while also holding the impaled metal stake still.
"I don't think I could single out anyone, everyone involved from the time it happened to now has been amazing," she said. "But I'd say first of all his friends who did all the right things when it happened, the rescue services ... and everyone here at Starship who has been involved in his care."
The mother said the metal stake was being kept by the family for her son to decide what to do with.
"... it should make a good story for his 21st birthday."