Young father braves heart replacement surgery to stay alive

By Aroha Mane

Twenty-five year old Pahuia Raharaha has a big-heart for kapa haka, his passion for the art saw him stand at the recent Matatini competition with Te Tū Mataora. However, in October last year, the young father was struck with devastating news that his heart was enlarged, and he needed a new one to stay alive.

“I was really down hard for me to take it. Knowing that my life was going to change.

Pahuia says it was hard to have his 6 year old daughter see him go through his mamae (pain).

Pahuia’s father Tau Raharaha says, “We were quite shocked because of the fact that such a young person has a heart condition and he's only 25-years old.

“So we took him to the hospital and he was in a bad way, I think we nearly lost him several times.”

Pahuia was diagnosed with an enlarged heart and had to wear a defibrillator to keep his heart going. Tau describes how he felt when a replacement manawa (heart) was found for his son.

“My phone rang and it was Pahuia and he says, “Dad the surgeons want to have a talk to you. And they say I just want to let you know that we've found a suitable heart for your son.””

“Of course, this whole weight just lifted off and everyone in the whare was up in arms and all happy.”

“When I was offered this heart and they asked me if I would like to have a heart transplant. I said yes with a big smile on my face,” Pahuia says.

Pahuias’ love for kapa haka saw him stand with Te Tū Mataora at the last Matatini. He's hoping to return to the stage after his recovery.

“My first one is getting back into kapa haka, finding a new job that suits my body and health, and living life to the fullest.”

Currently, the family is living in emergency housing in Glen Innes and has started a " Give-a-little Page" to help with Pahuia's recovery.