Public outcry over death of Moko Rangitoheriri prompts establishment of Facebook forum

Manslaughter charges over the prolonged abuse and death of 3 year-old Moko Rangitoheriri have prompted the establishment of a Facebook page and a call to action.

The Sensible Sentencing Trust in conjunction with Joy MacKenzie have established the Facebook page, Justice for Moko to act as a focal point for those frustrated over the death of the toddler and charges laid in relation to his death.

Sensible Sentencing Trust Founder, Garth McVicar says “At this stage the page is solely a meeting place for people who are frustrated and angry about this debacle.”

“While we obviously have a strategy in mind and there will be a call to action and there will be further announcements the initial purpose is simply to harness and accumulate the support.”

Joy MacKenzie who helped establish the page says “after reading the articles in the media the last couple of days I am devastated and deeply saddened by the tragedy and feel the need to help in any way I can.”

MacKenzie says, “It is simply not good enough that someone can take the life of a precious child and not be appropriately brought to justice.” 

Tania Shailer and David Haerewa pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Moko Rangitoheriri in the Rotorua District Court, and criminal law expert Khylee Quince told Te Kāea, the Crown's acceptance of the plea is "absolutely appalling".

Quince said, “in this particular case that it is an injustice. It would seem that there is enough evidence to go with a murder charge so I think it is entirely inappropriate given the scale and nature of the wrong-doing perpetrated on Moko to charge these people and for the Crown to accept a plea of guilty to manslaughter." 

 Moko now joins the list of other child abuse cases where perpetrators received manslaughter charges such as Nia Glassie, Delcelia Witika, Hinewaoriki Karaitiana-Matiaha known as Lillybing and James Whakaruru.

Co-creator of the Facebook page, Joy MacKenzie says, “I feel the issue of domestic violence in New Zealand is still happening far too often and we need to change that, we need to change the way we deal with the abusers. I want to be part of making that change."