Draw strength from others facing similar challenges

Our Families

The strength and courage of the families that stay with us is an inspiration and over the years RMHC® New Zealand has welcomed thousands of families from all over New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. Each year around 3700 families call our Houses home.

There is no better way to understand the value of our House than hearing from the families directly. Some families have shared their story and journey with Ronald McDonald House® below, highlighting the different circumstances which bring them here and what their stay meant to them.

The Allan Family, Whangamata

The Allan family from Whangamata have been staying at Ronald McDonald House on and off for over two years, while 3-year-old Mason receives specialist treatment and awaits a kidney transplant. To celebrate Father's Day, our friends at nib helped us plan a surprise day out for dad Matt and the whole family! See the video of their day by clicking on 'Read More'.

Read More

The Faulkner Family, Palmerston North

“It was very comforting knowing that we could go back and forth from the House at any time of the day or night. Being just across the road took all the stress out of travelling from other accommodation.” Racheal and Jesse were awaiting the arrival of their first child when - just four days before their due date - they were told that Racheal needed to give birth in Wellington. She had previously suffered rheumatic fever leading to heart failure and open-heart surgery. Her doctors were concerned about the birth putting pressure on her heart and advised her to go to Wellington Hospital, which had better facilities.

Read More

The Rigby Family, Timaru

From the dinners cooked by volunteers to the play areas offered for the children, the family was grateful for the practical and emotional support offered. “It definitely helped us in a time of stress. Everything was taken care of. We didn’t have to worry about anything else, we could just focus on our family,” says Kiha. The Rigby family from Timaru were visiting Wellington when their son Melakai had an asthma attack at 12 years old. He was taken to Wellington Hospital where his condition worsened.

Read More

The Smith Family, Cambridge

Rosie knows that if the House wasn’t there, their journey would have been very different and far more stressful. “Each trip to Auckland for Reef’s treatment is still exhausting and emotional. Knowing that the House is there and what it offers makes packing and travelling north much easier.” In 2014 Rosie Smith and her family were living in China when she took their 20-month-old son Reef to the doctor. She suspected he was teething or had an earache, but after numerous blood tests, she was told what no parent wants to hear. Reef had leukaemia.

Read More

The Kupa Family, Reporoa

The House was the family’s safe haven throughout Caleb’s treatment. “The staff were always there for a hug, you didn’t have to say a word, just a comforting hug,” says Rachael. Four-year-old (now six) Caleb Kupa had been having stomach pains for a long time without any diagnosis. He had been in for numerous blood tests without any alarming results. So when mum Rachael took him to Rotorua hospital for faster access to scans, she was sure it couldn’t be anything serious. However, an ultrasound scan found an unknown mass in Caleb’s abdomen.

Read More
The Dick family outside Rainbows End

The Dick Family, Invercargill

The Dick family from Invercargill have been staying at Ronald McDonald House since February this year, while 9-year-old Nathanael undergoes and recovers from a kidney transplant.  To celebrate Mother’s Day, our friends at ASB helped us surprise Carla by flying up her whole family from Invercargill, including her husband Grant and all 10 of their children! See the video of their reunion by clicking on 'Read More'.

Read More

The Diprose Family, Matamata

Being able to have the whole family together at the House has meant the world to Kate, and has helped her cope better. “Kate just wants to be a normal child. Having your family together and playing with your siblings is a normal thing,” says Jackie, “It gets her up out of bed. She is distracted, happy and with the people she loves. It’s good for her emotionally, mentally and physically.” When a brother is his sister’s perfect bone marrow donor match, it’s more important than ever for a family to be together at a Ronald McDonald House®. The Diprose family from Matamata know this all too well.

Read More

The Sim Family, Napier

“For us the financial strain of accommodation, travel and everything else would have been impossible. Having the Ronald McDonald House made the difference. We will be forever grateful for the support and cannot wait for our family to be able to give back and help support other families.” – Hazel Sim.   In early 2014, Hazel and Andrew Sim from Napier welcomed Carter into the world. Little did they know the massive journey that this little bundle of joy was about to take them on.

Read More
Poppy, Estelle and Lily-Rose Dixon

The Dixon Family, Hamilton

“Our baby girl was so sick, we weren't sure she would survive. The House was there as a sanctuary away from all things clinical.” - Estelle Dixon When Hamilton parents Estelle and Nathan Dixon’s little girl was born in June last year, they never envisaged their first Christmas with her would be spent at the hospital in Auckland.  Poppy was just 11 weeks old when mum Estelle noticed something wasn’t right.

Read More
Bateman Family

The Bateman Family, Palmerston North

“The families staying here all understand your exact situation and the staff are just wonderful. You have so much support that it doesn’t feel all bad,” said Bronwyn. A normal day at kindy took a turn for the worse and life for the Bateman family from Palmerston North changed drastically. When playing outside two-year-old Toby picked up a leaf to show his teacher, and when she bent down she noticed that his pupils were different sizes.

Read More

The Foreman Family, Papamoa

“We just don’t know where we’d be without this place. I know everyone says that, but that’s because it’s true,” says Victoria. “You have no idea how amazing it is until you’re here.” Bay of Plenty mum Victoria Foreman always knew she would need to give birth to baby Nixon in Auckland. She’d been told Nixon would need to receive specialist treatment for his heart at the National Children’s Hospital.

Read More
Shury Family

The Shury Family, Waitara

“Having the House there made such a difference. We absolutely couldn’t have done it otherwise” The Shury family from Waitara began their journey with Ronald McDonald House when their twin daughters were prematurely born.

Read More
Rachael and Cam Bartle

The Bartle Family, Hawke's Bay

“As soon as we got Cam off the wards and into the House he was a different kid, running around the House having fun with his brother, something he never did on the ward” The Bartle family first came to Ronald McDonald House Auckland (RMHA) in 2012 when mum Rachael was pregnant with Cameron (Cam).  Parents Rachael and Nick, along with their older son Cory and Nana Lyn traveled up to Auckland, knowing that baby Cam would be born with a cardiac condition.  

Read More

The Paggao Family, Auckland

Cindy and Noel Paggao were faced with potentially life-changing news when they were told that their 1-year old son Noah had Sinus Venous ASD (a hole in his heart).

Read More
The Meads Family Square

The Meads Family, Ngakuru

“Frank thrived when he saw his brothers. When he had ward leave and he was able to come to the House and be with his brothers, he was himself again” It was a big year for the Meads family through diagnosis, a new baby and their eldest son starting school. However the most important thing for the family was being able to stay together and therefore remain strong.

Read More
Gallagher family RMHA square

The Gallagher Family, Rotorua

“You can’t ever underestimate the value of this House and the support, it’s just amazing.” The Gallagher family stayed with us on and off for two years, and even though they are no longer here with us they continue to support the house through raising funds and awareness in their local community, a reflection of their gratitude.

Read More
The Buchanan Family square

The Buchanan Family, Kohukohu - Hokianga

“It’s a paradise in the middle of the city” The Buchanan family arrived at Ronald McDonald House when their daughter Winsom was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. The family has been overwhelmed by the support they continue to receive at the House.

Read More
The Corbin family Domain square

The Corbin Family, Te Awamutu

“The House has helped us to be a ‘normal’ family and made it so much easier to look after Ollie, this place has become like my home.” The Corbin family, originally from Wellington, first came to our Ronald McDonald House in Auckland just before their second son Finn was born. The family still visit our House on occasion for check-ups.

Read More
Tamihere Family

The Tamihere Family, Kawerau

“My treatment was long and I couldn’t go home to Kawerau for almost a year, it would have been harder if I didn’t have my family!” The Tamiheres first arrived at Ronald McDonald House in 2014 after Mikaera underwent surgery for a Bone Marrow transplant. Mikaera has since made a long but steady recovery and has become a vocal advocate for our charity. 

Read More
The Anderson Family square

The Anderson Family, Waipukurau - Hawke's bay

“RMHC allowed me to focus all of my energy on my son and his care.” Ronald McDonald House Charities played a special part in the Anderson families life, supporting them for the first seven years of Lochie’s life.

Read More
Olivia and Georgie Ferris

The Ferris Family, Nelson

“RMH is the best place in the world to be when your world has been turned upside down” While the Ferris family was in Auckland, Robyn described the support they received from Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) as incredible. No matter how bad your day was, the staff was always there to support you.

Read More