TODAY |

Video: Christmas comes early for disabled Kiwi kids with gift of new wheels to foster independence

Christmas has come early for six disabled children from Christchurch this morning.

Maia Harris put the BMW courtesy of charity Go Baby Go through its paces in Christchurch today. Source: 1 NEWS

Each has been gifted a brand new specially-modified, BMW, motorised car to help them achieve independence and to self-mobilise, in many cases, for the first time.

Among the cars given away today was the 100th vehicle gifted from the "Go Baby Go" charity, set up to import the cars from China and modify them to ensure each one is tailor-made to suit the needs of each disabled child.

Most New Zealand children are not eligible for a government-funded wheelchair until they are eight years old.

Therefore, the Go Baby Go cars will allow them to develop motor and social skills early.

Go Baby Go board member Mark Prujean says disabled children in wheelchairs are often left sitting on the sidelines in play situations among their more able-bodied peers.

"But put them in one of our motorised cars and all of a sudden there'll be three or four other siblings, or other kids, running over wanting to be part of what this kid's doing and they're communicating and playing together," he says.

A large group of volunteers give their time to both fundraise and modify the cars, with support from BMW and other corporates.

In recent months, South Island Rotary clubs have come on board, with many now hoping to raise enough money to pay for one car each for a disabled child in the near future. 

Two-year-old Maia Harris, who suffers from cardiac problems, was the lucky recipient of the 100th car today.