One family who have become awesome supporters of RMHC New Zealand are the Tamiheres from Kawerau, Bay of Plenty. The tight knit family always stay with RMHC New Zealand whenever Mikaera needs treatment at the National Children’s Hospital. The Tamiheres first arrived at Ronald McDonald House in 2014 after Mikaera underwent a bone marrow transplant. Mikaera has since made a long but steady recovery and has become a vocal advocate for us, “I just enjoyed and appreciated everything about the House! When I was off the ward it was just cool to hang out in a neat place with my family. I always enjoyed seeing Kate and Lorraine (family liasons), as soon as we walk through the doors, they always share a smile with you,” he said.
When Mikaera first arrived at the National Children’s Hospital for treatment in 2014, he spent 318 consecutive nights in hospital. To be constantly near him, his mother Maakere and younger brother Te Ahurei (6) stayed at Ronald McDonald House. Te Ahurei attended the on site school while Maakere kept close to Mikaera. Mikaera said “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!”
Throughout most of his time at hospital, Mikaera’s father, Shane stayed in Kawerau to continue his work. For Shane, just knowing that his family was safe and sound at the House, gave him peace of mind, “knowing that my family were safe and supported by RMHC New Zealand and staff, made it easier for me being away from them. While at the House we met many families who were going through similar journeys, it was comforting knowing that my wife had this type of support.”
Maakere said that having a place for the whole whānau to stay so they could visit her son was highly comforting, “The House eased us over a period that could have been that much worse for our family. Something I really loved and appreciated about the House, is the fact that they understood the importance of not only the immediate whānau, but also the extended whānau as well!”
“Important doesn’t even begin to describe the support the House provides. Essential is a word that comes to mind for me and our family. The House provided a warm and caring home environment for our family during such a trying time in our lives. Our whānau were always welcome at the House, and we were always received with warm open arms just as they would have been if they were visiting us in our own home!”