100 days since mum went missing

By Taroi Black

It has been 100 days since Jamie Kaiwai went missing and since then her whānau have not given up searching. A memorial service was held by the community in her memory at Tolaga Bay wharf today.

However, whānau are still urging police to find answers as they claim her disappearance was suspicious.

Jamie’s grandparents say the last hundred days have been very hard for the whānau.

“It's times like this when you remember the funny things she said and you have a bit of a tangi,” grandmother Elaine Kaiwai says.  

Jamie's nanny and koro.  Photo / File 

The tragic news has also given some comfort, as memories of Jamie, mother of one, were put into a photo album alongside her other beloved cousins. Elaine also gathered together art pieces and sketches done by Jamie, some of which are still unfinished. However, it is a simple reminder of the great skills her mokopuna possessed, she says.

Art-pieces by Jamie Kaiwai. Photo / File

Jamie, 27, was last seen on 11 October 2019 near their local wharf. Her vehicle was found at the carpark, with the keys still in the ignition.

The whānau claimed the information they provided to police fell on deaf ears, until Jamie’s closest cousin, Jonique Oli-Alainu’uese, ran a campaign on Facebook trying to gather as much information as possible about her cousin’s disappearance.

Oli-Alainu’uese says her last phone call with Kaiwai, two days before she was reported missing, was concerning. “She was petrified of someone and she wanted to just get out of Tolaga Bay. But she wouldn’t tell me why.”

She says her Facebook post aimed to highlight the fact that ‘women similar to Jamie are STILL missing all over NZ,’ including those who may have had a history of drug use and mental health issues.

The whānau also claimed the police convinced them that it was a suicide based on her mental health issues.

So the whānau took it into their own hands to continue the search for their Jamie.

Jamie's friend not giving up the search. Photo / File

One of her closest mates, Colonel Rungarunga, has not given up hope as well. He explained to Te Ao that they had provided information to police on day one of her disappearance.

“To be honest, I don’t think they took it seriously. They just put it down that she was māuiui (sick).

However, police confirmed they will investigate what happened to her following Te Ao's reports that the information circulated has been inconsistent.

Gisborne Police Detective Sergeant Daniel Kirk says, “Police are always willing to hear from anyone who has any information that may assist us in following credible lines of enquiry.”