What does Make-A-Wish® New Zealand do?

Our mission is to grant the wishes of children who have critical illnesses to give them hope, strength and joy. We believe that these wishes are transformational for the child and therefore all our work is based on positive psychology and through the implementation of what we call the wish journey.


How did Make-A-Wish begin?

Make-A-Wish originated in the United States in 1980. It grew from the dreams of a young boy Christopher Greicius, who had leukaemia and wanted to be a patrolman. His dream came true and after he passed away, his mother Linda Bergendahl-Pauling, helped form Make-A-Wish.


How large is Make-A-Wish in New Zealand?

Make-A-Wish New Zealand is a national charity with over 140 volunteers throughout New Zealand. Make-A-Wish has over 50 affiliates worldwide. 


How many wishes do you grant?

Make-A-Wish New Zealand grants over 150 wishes a year. Worldwide Make-A-Wish has granted more than 250,000 wishes. Since 1986 we have granted 3148 wishes at an average of 95 per annum. 


Does money donated only go to New Zealand children?

Yes. Although, Make-A-Wish is a worldwide charity, the money raised in New Zealand goes towards granting wishes to children in New Zealand. 


Who can receive a wish?

Children who are at least three years of age, but have not yet reached their 18th birthday, may apply to Make-A-Wish NZ. A child's treating physician will determine if the child is medically eligible for a wish, based on the medical criteria established by Make-A-Wish.


Do you grant wishes to adults?

No. Make-A-Wish only grants wishes to children who are at least three years of age, but have not yet reached their 18th birthday at the time of referral.


Does a child's illness have to be terminal in order to qualify for a wish?

No. A child does not have to be terminally ill. In fact, many of our wish children grow into adulthood and lead healthy, happy lives.


Can a child receive more than one wish?

No. Make-A-Wish grants one wish to each eligible child.


Are there any restrictions to a wish?

Each Make-A-Wish affiliate follows specific policies and guidelines for granting a child's wish. Some wishes have restrictions based on various factors, including the child's medical condition in relation to the wish request. Make-A-Wish takes into consideration all factors as they relate to the wish and the wish child, and then plans the wish accordingly. 


Does the family have to pay for the wish?

No. Wishes are arranged and paid for by Make-A-Wish. 


Does the family have to meet financial criteria in order to be eligible for their child to receive a wish?

No. Make-A-Wish grants wishes to children who qualify for our services without regard to race, religion, gender, economic status, or national origin.


Is there a waiting list to receive a wish?

No. However, in some situations a wish child may have to wait for their wish due to external circumstances such as the child's treatment schedule or the availability of a popular celebrity. If the fulfillment of a wish must be delayed for any reason, the wish child and family are fully informed, and the wish child is given the option to either make another wish request or wait.


How long does it take to grant a wish from referral to fulfillment?

In most cases wishes are fulfilled within a year. However, it is not easy to specify how long it takes from wish referral to wish fulfillment as it often depends upon the nature of the wish requested. In some circumstances, wishes can be fulfilled in a matter of hours or days, while in other cases, it can take months or even years.


How much does a wish cost to grant?

Wish costs vary greatly depending on the wish requested. At Make-A-Wish we always endeavor to carry out high quality wishes in financially sustainable way. Some wishes are very simple, and the wish goods or services may be donated, costing Make-A-Wish nothing. Other wishes can be very elaborate and cost thousands of dollars.

Whenever possible, Make-A-Wish seeks in-kind donations to help defer wish expenses. We receive excellent support from suppliers and corporate partners.


How much of my donation funds wishes?

Make-A-Wish endeavors to maximise the funds received from donors to deliver high quality wishes. 


How do you decide which children receive wishes?

Make-A-Wish does not decide which children receive wishes. Every child referred to Make-A-Wish and who is deemed eligible, by the child's treating physician, will receive a wish.


What types of illnesses do wish children suffer from?

All wish recipients have a critical illnesses. Although this covers a range of conditions approximately 60% of children who are granted wishes have some form of cancer. 


How is a child eligible for a wish?

To qualify for a wish the child must have, in the opinion of their treating physician, a critical illness. The child must also be between the age of 3 and under 18 years of age, at the time of application. Make-A-Wish does not means test and is non-religious. All eligible wish children receive a wish.


if a wish cannot be granted to an eligible child?

Our job is to make the impossible possible, so it is a very rare occurrence that we cannot create an appropriate experience for a child in line with their one true wish.  If a child's original wish cannot be granted due to health reasons or other circumstances beyond our control we will work with the child to identify another wish.


What are the most common wishes?

Every wish is as unique and special as each child and is only limited by the child's imagination. From going on scary rides with dad or creating magical memories with family members, to princess playhouses, tree huts, bedroom makeovers, meeting celebrities or swimming with dolphins, our aim is always to uncover the one true wish. Check out our wish stories section to see some recent examples of just how magical each wish is.


How does Make-A-Wish New Zealand raise money

Make-A-Wish New Zealand raises money to grant wishes in a variety of ways including: 

  • Corporate partnerships
  • Community fundraising
  • Events 
  • Cause-related marketing
  • Sponsorship
  • Marketing campaigns
  • Direct donations 


How do I apply for a wish?

Download a Wish Request Form here.

Grant a kiwi kid's wish...