A group of mothers from Auckland will be marching for Moko Rangitoheriri on May 22.
Karis Vesey, an Auckland mother and support worker at Women’s Refuge, came up with the idea to take the issue to the streets. “The nation needs to wake up about it. New Zealand has the fifth worst child abuse record in the OECD and it’s not OK,” she said.
“To march is not just about getting the Government, but people to take responsibility for their kids.”
Moko Rangitoheriri was only three years old when he died due to months of beatings by his own caregivers. According to reports, his death was caused by repeated kicking, hitting, dropping, and stomping.
The carers, identified as couple 43-year-old David Haerewa and 26-year-old Tania Shailer, have both pleaded guilty to manslaughter earlier this month. They are set to be sentenced on June 27 at the Rotorua High Court.
Moko was under the care of the two when his mother, Nicola Dally-Paki, was taking care of her other son at the Starship Hospital.
She told reporters that her seven-year-old daughter, who was also under the couple’s care, told her that Moko was locked in the bathroom for weeks. “She’d try and stay home from school to try and feed my son because they were starving him,” she said.
“[She said] ‘he wasn’t talking, Mummy. I tried to tell David, and I told Tania he’s not talking and he needs to see the doctor, and they wouldn’t listen Mummy’,” Dally-Paki added.
Haerewa reportedly told police that he did not like Moko’s ways and angry at him for taking them for granted. Both he and Shailer then began with the repeated assaults with the severity reportedly escalating.
Haerewa admitted that he continued with the abuse, especially in the four days before Moko died.
The couple was originally charged with murder but pleaded guilty to get lesser charges of manslaughter.
“The assaults were premeditated and prolonged fitting all the criteria for murder,” Sensible Sentencing Trust founder Garth McVicar said. “The fact the Crown has accepted a guilty plea of manslaughter smacks of collusion of the highest degree and is symbolic of New Zealand’s horrific level of child abuse.”
The march will start at Aotea Square at 1pm on May 22, 2016. It will be passing Queen St to Queen Elizabeth Square. For more information, visit Facebook page “I will march for Moko.“