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Eli needs new wheels

Eli with dad, Matt, and brothers Isaac and Jesse. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Fundraising gets serious

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Eli Honeysett was a happy five-year-old frolicking on his family’s farm in Kahutara when he was struck down by a nasty virus which left him paralysed from the neck down and unable to breathe on his own.

Now four years on, he’s hoping to raise $45,000 to buy a new 4×4 wheelchair, one which will allow him to more actively participate in life on the farm.

Eli spent 10 months in Starship Children’s Hospital in Auckland where was diagnosed with Acute Flaccid Myelitis, a rare disease which affects the spinal cord, causing loss of muscle tone and reflexes as well as respiratory failure in severe cases.

It paralysed Eli from the neck down and he is unable to breath on his own so relies on a ventilator.

He spent another 11 months at Wairarapa Hospital until his home was made accessible for him, before returning home and to Kahutara School in January last year.

His mother Tracey said he spent the months in hospital dreaming of getting home and back to life on the farm.

“Eli is the most positive kid you’ve met who seems to have taken most of it in his stride.

“He loves the outdoors and playing with his brothers and friends and getting out on the farm.”

They’ve helped him try to live his life with as few boundaries as possible.

Eli is involved in the kids’ triathlon series, school pets’ days and cross-country.

He also loves zooming around the school BMX track in his wheelchair.

However, the powerchair funded by the DHB, which Eli is able to drive with his mouth, is limited by the terrain of kerbs, gravel, grass and paddocks.

After seeing a video of someone in a tracked wheelchair on an online episode of Top Gear featuring all terrain mobility scooters, Eli decided to start fundraising.

“To have a wheelchair like this would hopefully remove those limits and increase his independence,” Tracey said.

“It would also mean he’d be able to get out on the farm and actually join in rather than watching from the fence lines.”

He started doing his own fundraising and generated $19 on his own, but now has the support of business Keinzley Agvet.

So far, they have raised $4000 towards the wheelchair and will be running monthly fundraising events until January when they hope to have all the money.


  1. I remember when I found out what was happening with little Eli. And whenever I could I would help out with the amazing raffles that were ran to help support his whanau. I would be happy to help again with this one too. At the end of the day. Family is family regardless of it is blood or not. I am in awe of the strengths you guys have had through all of it. Trace and Matt. You both are amazing parents. I’m so grateful to be extended whanau of yours. Whatever my tribe can do to help yours do what you need for Eli and the ability for him to live a life that he can be truly happy at. We’re more than happy to help out. Just want to send out love and support to everything you guys do for your family. Lots of loves from us. The Kaipo-Watson crew

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