A Gisborne march in memory of toddler Moko Rangitoheriri will be held on June 27, at 9am, the day that the accused will be sentenced.
This march will coincide with other rallies that have been set up in different parts of the country. According to The Gisborne Herald, rallies have been organised in all major New Zealand cities, with 14 listed so far.
Moko died at the age of three on August 10, 2015 due to repeated abuse by 26-year-old Tania Shailer 43-year-old and David Haerewa, a couple who was supposed to take care of him while his mother Nicola Dally-Paki was away.
Dally-Paki said that her seven-year-old daughter, who was under the couple’s care at the time, told her that Moko was being abused. “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’,” she added.
Shailer and Hawrewa both admitted that they abused Moko. They were originally charged with murder, but pleaded guilty to lesser charges of manslaughter. Dally-Paki said that these charges are inadequate, and many agree:
“No way in hell is this manslaughter. Our laws on child abuse need a review before we fail another child,” said Seven Sharp’s Toni Street.
“We kill our children in record numbers. It’s shameful. The Kahui twins, Nia Glassie, James Whakaruru and now the death of this innocent three-year-old boy. It’s well past time to stand up and confront the issue. This case should be used to send a message,” said journalist and radio host Duncan Garner.
National child abuse prevention charitable trust Child Matters will also be part of a March for Moko event, this time in Hamilton. The march will take place on 480 Angelsea St, Hamilton tomorrow, March 22, starting at 1pm.
Child Matters homes that this national outrage will give more protection to New Zealand’s children.
“The death of Moko has broken through some barriers and really touched people – and the media – which is an admirable response to a devastating situation,” said Child Matters General Manager, Relationships and Operations Jane Searle.
“We hope that this will help keep child abuse front of mind for everyone in our community, as we all have a role to play in keeping New Zealand’s children protected and safe,” she added.