Rotorua rallies in rain against child abuse

By Ripeka Timutimu

Outside of the Rotorua High Court, hundreds rallied on the streets with a message to stop child abuse immediately. Rallies were held right across the country.

In the heavy rain, with heavy hearts, hundreds rallied for longer sentences for child abusers.

The Sensible Sentencing Trust’s David Garrett says, “I think the sentence handed down was a courageous one, sadly I believe it will be appealed and possibly overturned for being too stiff, the judge has all she can with a manslaughter charge.”

Many of the marchers were in shock when Tania Shailer and David Haerewa escaped murder charges, downgraded to manslaughter.

Minister of Māori Development, Te Ururoa Flavell said the sentence was a reflection on the severity of the abuse suffered by Moko.

Flavell says, “The pair have heard the decision of the court and the outcry of the public, of those that stand against abuse of women and children.”

Flavell argues that if we want to move on from child abuse, we must speak up like the marchers did today.

“If you see issues arising, don't sit idle, don't hide, say something, that's our problem.”

For now though, the marchers could see this as a small gain, with today's sentence being the highest sentence imposed in New Zealand for the manslaughter of a child.