A leading New Zealand heart surgeon, who headed a medical team to Fiji for a week, says the most difficult part was selecting which children would get an operation.
Kirsten Finucane, the Head of Department of Paediatric and Congenital Cardiac Surgery at Auckland's Starship Hospital, led a team that did 19 operations over five days at Lautoka Hospital.
She says the schedule was hectic but the hardest part was having to pick the final list of children for surgery from 26 on the list.
Dr Finucane says it had been highly rewarding seeing the looks on the faces of those children and their families who now have a new lease on life.
"Five days of operating is pretty full on and they have all doing very well at this stage. I'm always a little anxious about them for a few days after this but we are not out of the woods until we know that they are healed up and happily home but they are all actually really good. The intensive care is already closed and they are just all out in the ward and getting back to feeding and so on," Kirsten Finucane.
She said some other children would have to come to New Zealand for their surgeries supported by charity and government funding.
Kirsten Finucane has carried out well over 7500 heart surgeries on children in Aotearoa over a career spanning over two decades and believes heart surgery should be available to children from the Pacific, who would miss out otherwise.