A Masterton man's wish to come home to spend his final days with family and friends has been granted.

Jim Laris, 62, has terminal cancer and was too unwell to travel by car, so Angel Flight, a charity that connects sick people with volunteer pilots, stepped in and arranged a special flight.

The organisation arranged for a Cessna 421 Golden Eagle to fly Mr Laris from Kerikeri to Masterton on Monday.

Touching down in the afternoon, Mr Laris said it was good to be back.


"It's important to come home to family. Without them [Angel Flights] we couldn't have got home. They're highly recommended."

Mr Laris spent several months in a hospice in Kerikeri before returning to Masterton.

He had hated being in the rest home with people so much older than him, he said.

Last year, Mr Laris began experiencing a tingling sensation down his right side, and was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

The tumour was inoperable, as removing it would have left him paralysed.

His partner, Mary Dymond, who accompanied Mr Laris on the flight, said they could not have made the journey without Angel Flight.

"We couldn't get him down by car. He's too sick ... these people are angels to do this for nothing.

"We are just so relieved because we knew Jim could come home to be with his friends and family. These people are angels because we couldn't have done it without them.


"He's been through all the radiation and chemo and now it's time to come home and die."

Born in Wellington, Mr Laris has spent most of his life in Masterton, and worked at Bagshot Station.

He moved to Kerikeri this year, where he and Ms Dymond ran a backpackers hostel.

He was met at the airport by his youngest of his three children, Rihari Haira. Mr Haira said it was hard watching the tumour affect his father's speech and overall health.

"He's always been a hands-on person, always fixing stuff and I can see him trying to take on the same things he used to, and he's trying - but he's struggling."

Angel Flight's non-emergency flights are funded by donations.

Transportation is free of charge, with pilots providing their own planes and fuel.

Mr Laris' pilot, Stuart Clumpas, said he enjoyed an excuse to get in the air, as well as the opportunity to help others.

"My wife had breast cancer three years ago so I know what it's like. There's a lot of people in the pilot community that would like to give back, and it's a good way to do that."