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Welcome Bay boy Rawiri Wilson-Te Whata had been playing hide and seek with family and friends when he was called across the road for dinner.
In the rush home and with an ear infection causing trouble, the seven-year-old did not hear the oncoming car which hit him -- inflicting injuries so serious he remains in a critical but stable condition at Auckland's Starship hospital.
The crash happened on Monday night on Meander Drive in front of several brothers, cousins and aunts, who were yesterday busy organising family to join Rawiri's mother at his bedside in Auckland.
The Selwyn Ridge student still needs surgery to help with swelling from his injuries.
Aunt Monique Te Whata said Rawiri was playing with several other children across the road when she sent her son Cassidy to call him for dinner.
"He was here [front deck] yelling out 'dinner'. He [Rawiri] was running across the road and as I turned around to close the door I heard it. I heard something bang and I turned and I thought it was my son lying there."
Monique said she then realised what had happened.
Rawiri was knocked to the ground a few metres from where the car had stopped.
Monique said she ran over to Rawiri who was drifting in and out of consciousness and alerted the rest of the family, who contacted emergency services.
Despite the trauma of what had happened, the children who witnessed the collision were yet to digest how dire the situation was, Monique said.
However, the first person at Rawiri's side was Trey, his six-year-old cousin he had been playing with.
"He wasn't really moving," Trey said.
Fellow aunt Janie Te Whata said Rawiri had no idea the car was coming. "He just shot out in front of the car and the car hit him."
Janie said the family had been inundated with support, for which they were immensely grateful.
"Rawiri loves all his friends at his school and he will be so speechless when he comes home with all the love and support everyone has shown for him.
"He is an outgoing little boy with the biggest heart for anyone he knows. If anyone needs anything he will do it, no matter what it is."
Janie said the family was not looking to blame anyone for the crash.
It is understood the driver is another resident on the street but not known to the family.
Western Bay of Plenty head of road policing Senior Sergeant Ian Campion said no charges had been laid but police were yet to speak to each witness.
Mr Campion said early indications suggested speed and alcohol were not contributing factors.
"But at this early stage we are keeping an open mind. Our secondary concern is of course the welfare of the boy."
- Bay of Plenty Times