Whānau claim police lack urgency to find missing mum

By Taroi Black

The immediate whānau of missing mum Jamie Kaiwai are vowing to continue the search for the 27-year-old who was last seen in Tolaga Bay (Uawa) two and a half months ago.  One whānau member believes the disappearance of her cousin is suspicious and not suicide.

Kaiwai was last seen on 11 October 2019 near their local wharf. Her vehicle was found at the wharf carpark, with the keys still in the ignition.

Cousin Jonique Oli-Alainu’uese says her last phone call with Kaiwai, two days before she was reported missing, was concerning. “She was petrified of someone and she wanted to just get out of Tologa Bay. But she wouldn’t tell me why.”

Whānau immediately conducted a search for their relation and have described the ordeal as heart-breaking.  

“All we want is to lay her to rest, to give her a proper tangi,” Oli-Alainu’uese says.

Yesterday, Oli-Alainu'uese posted on Facebook that the whānau believe the disappearance is suspicious.

However, the NZ Police told Te Ao that Kaiwai's disappearance is ‘not considered suspicious’ at all.

Oli-Alainu’uese says, “They haven't been very urgent in looking into her case and in saying that they have been very respectful with us.”

Kaiwai was loved by all in her community, a mother who was open to kōrero and had a passion to work. Her whānau did say she had ongoing mental health issues and Oli-Alainu’uese made mention in her Facebook post that her illness “convinced police that it was suicide.”

Whānau suspect that Kaiwai is close to Tolaga Bay and could be in or around areas 10 to 30kms north in Mangatuna or Mangatokerau.  

“We've had someone come forward and say they were with her at the wharf. They saw a man with her, the man was actually with both of them. She didn't give more descriptions about that. When I sent police to interview this person it was denied.”

If you know anything, contact Crimestoppers New Zealand: 0800 555 111.