Arei had never been diagnosed with Asthma, leaving us unaware of potential triggers and signs of a developing asthma attack.
Story Areiawa Photo

My name is Renarda Hooper and I am the proud mummy to three beautiful children, Areiawa, Milan and Enzo.  In the early hours of June 3rd 2013, at Waikato Hospital, our whole world came crashing down. Our beautiful baby, Areiawa, was just 2 ½ years old when she took her last breath and collapsed in my arms - her precious life suddenly snatched by an acute asthma attack, leaving our hearts forever broken. Now, we can only share about her legacy and hope that the importance of diagnosing child asthma is taken seriously and respiratory illness becomes a health priority in New Zealand

It can be harder to diagnose asthma in a young child because of their smaller airways. In our baby's situation, the visual sign of eczema and a family history of Asthma were also ruled out. Arei had never been diagnosed with Asthma, leaving us unaware of potential triggers and signs of a developing asthma attack. The guilt of not being able to save our little girl will always haunt us but we are determined to help raise awareness of the importance of diagnosing this silent killer illness. It really has been such a struggle knowing we could have received so much support if we had the chance.

We encourage parents to be vigilant of their child's behaviour, especially if diagnosis is uncertain. If you have been given a spacer/inhaler medication by your child's GP as precaution, make sure you also learn the signs and symptoms of asthma. Talk with your child's GP so they are aware of your concerns, especially if your child has a reoccurring cough, that isn't necessarily due to a cold virus.

Our lovely little girl has taught us many invaluable lessons throughout this painful experience. Arei's Ray of Hope has given her baby siblings a better chance to breathe easier. We hope that by helping to raise awareness of asthma, it will become a highlighted topic in New Zealand.

To my sweet Areiawa. Not a day goes by when you are not on my mind. I look at your baby sister and brother, and see you. I hope you know how very proud I am to be your mummy. I hope you know how much I love and miss you beyond belief.  Your infectious smile, will forever light up our hearts. You will always be 'my sunshine, my only sunshine'. I miss you! Love you always, Mummy.
In Love & Light,
Areiawa & Whanau.

Facebook:  A Tribute For Our Baby 'Areiawa Harlow Hooper'


If you or someone you know with a respiratory condition has a story to share, please email marketing@asthmaandrespiratory.org.nz and you could be featured here too!

Can you help other New Zealanders with a respiratory condition?

Sadly, many New Zealanders are affected by respiratory disease. One in six New Zealanders have a respiratory condition. Respiratory illness is the third leading cause of death in New Zealand.

DonateGet involved

Have you read

View all