He may not get a big wedding or even his driver's licence but Matthew Smith is on a mission to meet Thomas the Tank Engine.
The 20-year-old Whanganui man has high-need autism, a brain disorder that impairs his social skills and communication, and has dreamed of meeting Thomas nearly his whole life.
His mother, Stacey Williams, has started a Givealittle page to raise funds for Matthew to make the nearly 450km journey to Glenbrook station in Auckland for his 21st birthday to meet Thomas the Tank Engine.
Williams said she initially wanted to throw Matthew a big 21st party with his friends but when she asked Matthew he said all he wanted was to meet Thomas.
"Thomas the Tank Engine has always been the thing that has calmed Matthew. I think it has something to do with the faces, I read somewhere that the faces are easy for autistic children to read," she said.
Ms Williams said she didn't know if meeting Thomas the Tank Engine was even possible.
"I vented on a group Facebook page and someone turned around and said there is a life-sized Thomas the Tank Engine that Glenbrook station brings out twice a year in New Zealand. So I started researching."
She said when she contacted the company it just so happened one of the two dates was November 11, which is Matthew's birthday.
"They have been absolutely amazing. They are going to give Matthew a free entry but we need to raise funds for transport and accommodation for the whole family," Williams said.
The givealittle page was started on May 26 and has already raised $470.
Williams, who owns Stacey's Cakes, said she will also be fundraising through her cake business.
"Matthew is amazing, everything he has achieved in his life is more than we ever anticipated," she said.
He is completing his first unit in food handling and safety with Takiri Mai Ata Whanau Ora Collective. After completing the certificate he plans to work for his mum helping bake cakes.