Seven-year-old Dori Salanoa loves Disney princesses, the colour pink and music videos - in many ways she's like any other little girl.

But the Mangere Bridge School pupil has a rare, inoperable brain tumour.

For years she's wanted to be a YouTube star and yesterday she became one, when a feature-length film made up of music videos Dori had produced and video interviews with those close to her aired at Hoyts cinema at Sylvia Park shopping mall.

The event was organised by the charity Make-A-Wish, which helps children battling life-threatening illnesses achieve their dreams, along with her community, church, school and loved ones.


Before the movie screening Dori, her mum Grace Va'a, and one of her aunties got their hair, nails and make-up done by local hair and make-up students.

They arrived at Sylvia Park in a pink Nissan Qashqai at 11am and were greeted by about 200 friends and family members before walking the "pink" carpet to the theatre.

Dori's mother said having her wish fulfilled meant "everything" to her daughter.

"It shows the bond that we have and the support and the love of our family around her."

The movie was also about creating a legacy for Dori and watching it provided Va'a and her partner, who aren't sure how much time they have left with Dori, the elder of their two girls, with comfort.

"Whatever is going to happen this wish will always be there. We'll always get to see it," she said.

Dori was just 2 when she was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), an aggressive form of cancer which affects the lower part of the brain that controls important bodily functions, including breathing, sleeping and blood pressure.

Seven-year-old Dori Salanoa's dream of becoming a YouTube star came true thanks to charity Make-A-Wish. Photo / Michael Craig
Seven-year-old Dori Salanoa's dream of becoming a YouTube star came true thanks to charity Make-A-Wish. Photo / Michael Craig

In June 2013, when Dori, whose full name is Indori Roini Va'a Salanoa, was visiting relatives in Samoa, Va'a's mother had noticed she was limping and her eye was drooping.


Her worried grandmother knew something was very wrong and booked seats for Dori and her aunt on the next flight back to New Zealand.

When Dori arrived in Auckland her parents rushed her to the hospital. Doctors believed she had the flu but sent her for a CT scan after Va'a told them Dori hadn't been walking straight.

Two days later doctors gave Va'a and her partner the devastating news that Dori had cancer - they said she had about nine months to live.

"We were shattered," said Va'a.

But their daughter is a fighter. "Princess Warrior we call her."

Dori had 30 rounds of radiotherapy, the only available treatment because of the location of the tumour.

In 2015, when her family was visiting relatives in Hawke's Bay, Dori, then aged 5, came down with a high fever and started vomiting.

Her parents rushed her to the nearest hospital where she had another scan, which revealed she had a blood clot on her brain.

"We thought that would be the end of her journey," said Va'a.

But Dori pulled through. She later had another 10 treatments of radiotherapy.

"She's a very strong girl," her proud mum told the Herald on Sunday.

"She smiles every time. It breaks my heart when I know what she's going through but the smile on her face comforts me and also gives me and her dad courage to keep going."