'Frenzied' murder of young māmā as she held pēpi

By Contributor

By Belinda Feek, Open Justice multimedia journalist, Waikato

A man has admitted the brutal slaying of his partner with a boning knife as their young baby slept in between her legs and their 4-year-old had no choice but to look on.

The 35-year-old today admitted murdering Ngawai Kararaina Maria Himiona in their Kentucky Cres, Nawton, Hamilton home about 11.15pm on December 16, 2020.

Himiona's family watched proceedings via audio visual link in the High Court at Hamilton.

Suppression for the man was continued for another seven days to allow his lawyer, Kerry Burroughs, time to file an application for permanent suppression. If he didn't, it would lapse.

Crown prosecutor Jacinda Hamilton said they would oppose a permanent suppression order as the victims family had expressed their wish for him to be named.

Himiona was the mother of four children aged 4 months, 4 years old, 10 years old and 13 years old.

The man and Himiona had been together for around 15 years and their relationship was always "volatile", court documents state.

During the day of her death, the man had subjected her to a beating which saw her suffer a fractured nose and bruising to her face and scalp.

Later that evening, the eldest of the four children contacted the grandmother - the man's mother - asking her to come over in fear there would be another fight.

She arrived at 9.15pm and tried to mediate the situation. She got her husband to pick up the two eldest children, while Himiona took care of the two youngest.

Himiona went into a bedroom where the man's mother attempted to keep him away from her in the kitchen.

However, the man realised that he was being kept from the room by his mother and suspected that Himiona had called police.

He charged past his mother and went into the bedroom, where he confronted Himiona, who had since ended her 111 call.

He grabbed the phone and saw that she used it to call 111 and without saying anything, left the room and took a large boning knife.

Meanwhile, Himiona was laying on the bed with their 4-month-old baby sleeping between her legs and their 4-year-old was awake in the room.

The man went back into the room, pushing his mother out of the way as he entered.

He leapt over the top of Himiona and began a "frenzied" attack, stabbing her a total of 17 times to the neck, chest, abdomen and limbs.

The man sliced his own hand during the attack as his mother tried to stop the attack.

He then left the property and went to his parents' property and told his father, "Dad I have done bad, I have done bad, I am going away for a long time. I hope I haven't killed Ngawai. I might have killed her ... I stabbed Ngawai. I have done bad. I have done bad."

Neighbours of the couple ran to try and help, applying pressure to her wounds and attempting CPR as they waited for emergency services to arrive.

She died soon after at the scene.

Justice Campbell convicted the man and remanded him in custody for sentencing on August 31.

At the time of her death, Simplicity Funeral Homes posted that her sudden death had left the whānau "broken and lost for words".

"The aroha surrounding you Ngawai will keep ur babies strong and your whānau tight.

"With all the aroha in the world our hearts go out to you, your babies and your whānau, especially ur Mumma, siblings & whānau unable to make it home from Australia."

The man was convicted and remanded in custody for sentencing on August 31.