Child advocacy group wants harsher penalties on child abusers

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

The Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness (CAPA) community group is calling for harsher penalties on child abusers. The call was made at a march in Taupō, to raise awareness and prevent child abuse.

The community of Taupō are calling for harsher penalties on child abusers who are responsible for the non-accidental death of children. 

"They need to respect the hurt that the family are left with. You know that scars people for life and that ain't fair," said a march supporter.

CAPA in collaboration with the Taupo Council today unveiled a commemoration plaque called 'Angels of NAI' to commemorate children who've died from non-accidental incidents.

CAPA spokesperson Rangiuia Ngawhika says, "Murder is murder. That's our customs, never mind manslaughter, it's murder. A baby is unable to care for themselves. It's up to the caregiver to care for the child, protect them and guard them."

This day last year CAPA led a march through Taupō in protest of the manslaughter sentence handed to Tania Shailer and David Haerewa, for the death of Moko Rangitoheriri. A three-year-old who endured two months of severe abuse before he passed. 

Taupō Mayor David Trewavas says, "We're such a beautiful community. the beautiful lake, the mountains and the prestigious environment we live in. The economy's good,  the flash flags are up the main street and we know we've got a problem in our back rows."

Moko's mother Nicola Dally-Paki wasn't able to take part in today's events, however, her lawyer Arama Ngapo told Te Kāea, that Ms Dally-Paki appreciates the memorial and support. She hopes it raises awareness and change in our community and society as to how we keep children safe. 

Later this week CAPA will champion a petition calling on the government to establish the 27th June as a national 'Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Remembrance Day.'