Mana Ririki to make enquiry into toddler's death

By Taroi Black

Two people have appeared in the Rotorua District Court charged with assault following the death of three-year-old Moko Sayviah Rangitoheriri in Taupō on Monday. 

A 46-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman entered no plea and were granted name suppression.

Bay of Plenty Police say the pair, who were arrested and charged with assault, were not family members of Moko.

Police have been carrying out a forensic examination at a Marshall Ave property in Taupō over the last two days. 

Moko was admitted to Taupō Hospital with critical injuries on Monday afternoon.  He died before he was able to be transferred to Starship Hospital in Auckland.

The pair charged with assault have been remanded in custody and will reappear in the Taupō District Court on September 10.

Māori Child Advocacy Group, He Mana Ririki says it wants to make its own enquiries into the death of Moko Sayviah Rangitoheriri.  He Mana Ririki spokesperson Kuni Jenkins says more research is needed into why one child is killed every five weeks.

She also says, “We want to know if this baby was killed and who killed this toddler.”

Mana Ririki was established in 2008 with the aim of providing a Māori-led response to Māori child abuse.  They work mostly with newborn babies and toddlers up to the age of 5.

Jenkins says, “Most mothers are so young.  But the issue is, they don't know how to speak Māori, they don't know their tikanga.  Workers that go in are mostly Pākehā.  How can they relate to Māori families?”

According to Registered Charitable Trust Child Matters, on average one child in New Zealand is killed every 5 weeks.  Most of these children are under five years old.  He Mana Ririki is urging iwi leaders to support them in tackling child abuse.

“That's what we hope to achieve.  Mana Ririki want to go into to those districts and tackle this issue,” says Jenkins.

A Whānau Ora Partnership Group, which consists of ministerial and iwi representatives, will discuss the issue of domestic violence and child abuse at a meeting in Parliament next week.