Fifty-eight not-so-lucky youngsters had a day to remember yesterday - enjoying a scenic flight above New Zealand.

The Air New Zealand Koru Care flight, operated by the 787-9 Dreamliner, left Auckland at midday and went as far south as Invercargill before returning. The children, aged 5 to 18, have a range of medical conditions including leukaemia, heart problems and hearing and visual impairments.

Air New Zealand's manager for sponsorship and communities, Meghan Blair, said the national carrier and Koru Care had a long-standing relationship, having worked together for more than 30 years.

"While we provide more than 100 airfares each year to enable memorable overseas trips for Koru Care's sick and disadvantaged children, we wanted to do something a little special for those who are unable to travel overseas due to their medical conditions or family situations."


Isaiah Salisbury, 7, from Whangarei was one of those on the flight, with his mother, Dawn Salisbury. He said he was excited when told he would be taking the flight and most excited about getting to see his country from the air.

Isaiah said he'd told his classmates about the trip as well as some people at church and they all thought it was "real cool".

He thought the flight was a good way to spend Mother's Day.

Isaiah had been on an aircraft before, but said that had been a long time ago and he could hardly remember it.

Mrs Salisbury said she was happy for Isaiah and the flight would be empowering for him.

"I'm really excited to be part of this with him and see his reactions."

Isaiah had heart surgery at just 3 months old. It still affected him physically and he was small for his age.

Mrs Salisbury said she was also excited to spend Mother's Day relaxing and being able to enjoy herself.