She is still recovering from a brutal carjacking that shocked a nation.

But Nancy Voon, 66, has forgiven the teenage girls who put her through a terrifying ordeal and hopes they can turn their lives around to have a "bright future".

The offenders included 18-year-old Lily Pritchard-Davis, who was sentenced to four and a half years jail nine days ago after a crime spree which saw her face 28 seperate charges.

"They are still young... I hope they can change everything... and walk... back to the light."


In an at-times tearful interview, and with her beloved granddaughter sat next to her lending emotional support, Voon spoke exclusively to the Herald on Sunday about the day her life was turned upside down.

But also about the power of forgiveness, a vital quality if we wanted to "have a good heart".

And the committed Christian said: "In []the Bible... Jesus [tells] us we have to forgive everyone, even [if] they commit [a] sin... they can change their life".

Voon also she wanted to show her gratitude to well wishers around New Zealand for their love and kindness which buoyed her back from that darkness.

"Many thanks to them," Voon says to those from all over who sent flowers to her hospital bedside and messages of support, including touching ones from children of a "small town" - they showed her just how much people "care about me".

Voon's nightmare began late on the morning of September 14, at a carpark outside the Lagoon Leisure Centre in Panmure. She was waiting for son Sang Phua, who had popped into the centre to collect table tennis equipment.

She noticed a car pull up and thought the occupants were about to ask her something. But two teens who got out embarked on something much nastier.

Voon said she was pulled from her car, and asked "where is your bag". When she didn't tell them, she says she was threatened with a screwdriver.


The petite grandmother said she didn't put up a fight. "I can't." The girls were a lot bigger than her.

She said she told them to take her handbag - with her driver's licence, phone and family photos inside.

Members of Nancy Voon's family (L-R) Carmen Phua, Chee Phua and granddaughter Lydia Chin. Photo / Dean Purcell
Members of Nancy Voon's family (L-R) Carmen Phua, Chee Phua and granddaughter Lydia Chin. Photo / Dean Purcell

But Voon, paralysed with fear - "my mind [was] just empty" - was punched twice to the head and kicked.

She said she fell to the ground.

Nothing was said during the attack, she says.

"After I fall down... they just take my car and drive away."

Voon said she noticed blood "from my nose... all (over) my clothes", and began vomiting from pain.

She was spotted and an ambulance called to take her to Auckland Hospital, where she says she stayed a week. Her nose was broken, her teeth chipped, she had severe concussion and a black eye.

When she first saw herself in the mirror, "I feel sad".

She was "quite shocked" to learn the girls involved in her carjacking were teenagers. "But I forgive them."

"I always forgive," Voon said. "My heart [is] so soft... I hope they can change their [lives]".

An outpouring of support from family, friends, her church and the community lifted her spirits and willed her to get better to repay their care and concern.

They are still young ... I hope they can change everything ... and walk ... back to the light."

Police had received dozens of calls with information after they released CCTV footage of the incident in the carpark, and hundreds shared the link to the Facebook video as the search was underway for those involved.

Voon was also inspired in her recovery by the bravery and determination of granddaughter Tiffany, 12, who spent much of her first three years in a ward not that far away, in Starship Children's Hospital.

A medical condition that resulted in her being vulnerable to infections meant she was fighting for her young life at times. Family would stay by her hospital bedside, including Voon - sometimes for a week at a time. She was "really close" to Tiffany. "I love her (very) much."

Voon, who moved to New Zealand with husband William Phua and their four children from Malaysia in 1991, even taught her granddaughter Mandarin from age two. She is now proficient in the language.

Tiffany's health had improved since a bone marrow transplant at age five.

Voon took "a few months" to recover from her injuries. But she said she has to take medication to stave off recurrent headaches.

And she also said that after never having been the victim of violence before, she sometimes felt unsafe now when going out. She was usually accompanied by a son for security.

Phua, with whom she had owned a factory and restaurant in Otahuhu, died in 2012. She still misses him badly.

Voon wanted to reiterate her thanks to supporters and the doctors and nurses who helped her back to health.

And she also had a message for the teens who put her through her ordeal. She hopes God will help them turn their lives around, so they "don't do any (further) bad things" and gives them "a bright future".