Sick Whakatane boy gets bucket-list wish to meet Prime Minister

Malachi Agnew will get to meet Jacinda Ardern.
Malachi Agnew will get to meet Jacinda Ardern. Photo credit: Facebook

A sick Whakatane boy will get a bucket-list wish, after receiving a very special call from the Prime Minister, hours after he appealed to meet her. 

Twelve-year-old Malachi Agnew has been in and out of hospital since he was six weeks old, spending most of his time between Tauranga, Waikato and Starship Hospitals, with several medical issues, NZME reports. 

To help him through his conditions, he created a bucket list with more than 70 things to tick off and one of them was to meet Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. 

On Thursday morning, mother Julie Agnew posted on Facebook, saying Malachi had received a phone call from Ardern, after she saw an NZME story. 

"He was hopping from one foot to the other and beamed from ear to ear," she said. "They chatted for 15 minutes about all sorts of things and a meeting is being arranged.

"He is so excited. She has spoken to the Defence Minister, arranging a few other things as well.

"She was truly amazing, having only heard about it last night, she tracked us down and rang immediately, arranging a call with Malachi this morning. Just blown away!

"She was so lovely and down to Earth to chat to, but a bit surreal, putting her name into my contacts list."

Malachi first went to hospital when he was six weeks old and at age four, he had his first major brain surgery to treat Chiari Malformation - structural defects in the base of the skull and cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls balance.

He also has intracranial pressure, migraines, scoliosis, epilepsy, asthma and some vertebrae were fused, which now pinch nerves. He has to be fed through a port in his stomach, because his stomach muscles are too weak to digest food and his body does not absorb enough nutrients.

Malachi's muscles are starting to degenerate and doctors are doing tests to find out what's causing it, so it can be treated before it gets to his heart.

Malachi woke up in Starship's high dependency unit recently and decided there were some things in life he did not want to miss out on. That's when he started his bucket list.

His aunt set up a Givealittle page to help tick off some of those items and to pay for equipment for him, such as a pressure bed and a hydrotherapy pool. 


Malachi's bucket list

1. Feel what it is like to fly free DONE

2. Trot a horse DONE

3. Canter a horse ORGANISED

4. Stand on a volcano and not die ORGANISED

5. Graduate intermediate 

6. Drive a 4 wheeler motorbike DONE

7. Sit among heroes (local RSA)

8. See mum get her private pilot's licence

9. Catch my first trout ORGANISED

10. Fly in a helicopter DONE

11. Watch a chicken hatch out of its egg

12. Get my first deer (and see Mum's face) DONE

13. Show Maitlan (older brother) how he's my hero

14. Take Jelani (younger brother) to his first day of kindy DONE

15. Take Myran (younger brother) to his first day of school

16. Meet the Black Falcons DONE

17. Go to Air Tattoo DONE

18. Fly a NZ flag

19. Get a family photo for Mum 

20. Work at SPCA for a day

21. Learn to juggle

22. Do Tongariro crossing with Mum

23. Stand under a waterfall ORGANISED

24. Meet a tuatara

25. Cuddle a real kiwi ORGANISED

26. Scream DONE

27. Fly with Dave Brown 

28. Show Mum how I see her really

29. See a Nicu baby

30. Paraglide

31. Go skiing

32. Watch Myran in his first flight

33. Sit in a Hercules (RNZAF)

34. Swim with sharks at Kelly Tarlton's 

35. Go on a first date

36. Kiss the most beautiful girl in the world

37. See Maitlan parachute (witness his dream come true)

38. Meet Jacinda Ardern

39. Meet someone who understands beauty DONE

40. Stand on Whenuapai Air force base and watch parade

41. Do karaoke

42. Do a somersault

43. Do something unexpected for someone

44. Run and dance barefoot in the rain

45. See a sunrise DONE

46. See a sunset

47. Dance with Mum

48. Get a dog that's mine and Mum's, so she can cuddle it when I'm in hospital

49. Do overnight tramp with Maitlan

50. Make a difference in someone's day

51. Swim with dolphins

52. Find Mother Nature

53. Fly kites with Myran and Jelani DONE

54. Plant a tree of life

55. See Alastair on parade

56. Write letters to Mum and my brothers

57. Make a wedding dress for Mum DONE

58. Put a time capsule down

59. Become a nurse

60. Go to Alice Springs and see flying doctors

61. Hunt my first pig

62. Go through a dam and see how it works DONE

63. See a beehive and collect the honey ORGANISED

64. Go in a speedboat

65. Watch something with a big machine

66. Drive a car ... fast on a race track

67. Do a high ropes course with Maitlan DONE

68. Feed stingrays

69. Sky swing with Maitlan

70. Spend an entire day at Motion Entertainment in Rotorua with my brothers and Mum

71. Gliding

72. Indoor skydive

73. Zorb

74. 3D figures of my family