Blind to torture, revolution required

Emerging details on the torture and death of three year old Moko Rangitoheriri’s death is damning of those who could have intervened, or at least could have tried to intervene.

And it’s damning of a culture of violence alongside a culture of turning a blind eye to violence.

Will yet another case of abuse, violence and killing finally provoke a serious standing up against these cultures?

Stacey Kirk: Many knew of Moko’s torture – now they’ll have to live with his death

OPINION: Would you call CYF on a hunch? We must all act to help our abused children – because getting outraged afterwards can’t save Moko. That’s why we are calling for a ministerial inquiry to discover how we can do better to protect our most innocent.

It was not just the two people who beat, tortured and eventually killed three-year-old Moko Rangitoheriri who knew the little boy was at risk. There were others.

Kirk highlights a big part of then ongoing problem.

This public culture of not intervening is beyond disgraceful, so here’s the list of people and organisations that we know knew something – there are likely more:

Her list:

  • The Maori Women’s Refuge social worker: she followed up the seven-year-old’s claim by ringing Shailer. Shailer lied and blamed Moko’s sister. She said she feared for Moko’s safety once he was back in the hands of his mother.
  • The refuge was aware Shailer herself had escaped from a violent relationship with Haerewa and had returned to that relationship after Haerewa was let out of prison.
  • The same social worker was there when Shailer went in to CYF to say the children were at risk of being exposed to domestic violence.
  • Shailer told CYF she wasn’t coping with Moko, 11 days before his death. CYF denies being told Moko was being hurt.
  • Shailer told a friend Moko had fallen from a woodpile, when his situation was becoming dire. The friend was concerned, but never spoke up when Shailer declined her offer to drive them to the hospital.

At no point did anyone go to see Moko.

Had they done, they’d have seen damage no seven-year-old could ever inflict.

This is far from just a  Government problem, although they have to find ways of trying to address this better.

This is a family problem, a whanau problem, a community problem, a country’s problem and a country’s shame.

The trouble is, all named in the above list had at least one small piece of the puzzle. So why did no one seek Moko’s voice? Should they have done? Should the Government go knocking on doors at the slightest hint of trouble?

It’s a difficult and complex problem.

In the 1980’s social welfare visited me because a flag was raised about one of my daughters – she had been to A & E three times in a year. Being routinely checked out didn’t worry me because the accidents were easily explained – and no action was taken.

But still, thirty years later, the system is not protecting children at risk.

These are questions that needs answers. That is why the Sunday Star-Times is calling for Tolley to step in and call a full and independent inquiry.

Another Government inquiry? Is that where change should come from?

Isn’t it time families and whanau and communities stopped leaving it to another lengthy hand wringing inquiry and took responsibility for this crisis of violence?

Sure the Government can and should help.

But a revolution in caring for children has to be a revolution of the people.

For the people. Especially for the kids.

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47 Comments

  1. Corky

     /  15th May 2016

    I can’t help but notice the poor mainstream media coverage this case is receiving. It would seem incessant coverage of our weather is a more pressing priority.

    I see the second most hated man on liberals hit lists, after the generic White Middle-class Male- Garh McVicar- has organised a protest outside every courthouse in the country when the two offenders are sentenced. Fifty something courthouses throughout the country. Down from 67 the last time they had a similar protest according to Garth.

    Why the hell should a cocky have to partition government and courts to obtain justice( and Utu) for victims of crime? Isn’t that the role of government?

    I guess ” evil” has ceased to be something society has inherently fought against. Its now considered just another component of society.

    Reply
  2. Kitty Catkin

     /  15th May 2016

    I can’t help but see him as an attention-seeker. Has he offered to foster any of these children at risk ? Petitioning won’t do anything, and I see little point in standing outside other courtrooms. What good will that do ? I know a couple who are showing their concern by fostering, and any child who goes there will be very lucky indeed. They can foster me if they like.

    ‘Justice’ can’t be served-Moko’s dead. All that can happen is punishment. He’s beyond justice now.

    Why-why-why do people go back to violent relationships ? A girl in my town went to the length of having ‘Property of _____” tattooed on her face, and _____ did what he liked to his property, of course-nobody could convince the property to leave him. He was in prison-came out-his property welcomed him back, and her friends and family could do nothing. Well, she did leave eventually-in a coffin, beaten to death. I saw ______ when my late husband was in hospital-he was there in the next A & E cubicle with two guards-and couldn’t see anything in him to justify this slavish adoration. I had seen the girl with two big circles tattooed on her cheek and the letters inside them like a stamp. Let’s hope that if he’s released no other woman will fall for this walking fist and meet the same fate.

    There’s a limit to what the rest of us can do. I rang CYFS about a child near me who was often out of school for no reason-what more could I do ? March him to school myself ? I rang the school to say that he was obviously not ill. As far as I am concerned, I did everything that I could.

    I rang III about a possible domestic-short of going up and looking in, I couldn’t say that it WASN’T just shouting, but preferred not to risk it being more (I’d say that if it wasn’t, it was heading that way, but it sounded quite bad) and did this some months ago when by chance I was going past a place where the same thing was happening. Because of the way the place is built, it’s unlikely that anyone else would have heard. By chance, the boys in blue drove past when I was on the phone, so I jumped up and down and stopped them.

    When in doubt-DO. Alas, nobody could force ______’s property to walk out on him.

    Reply
    • jamie

       /  15th May 2016

      What an awful story, Kitty. Heartbreaking. And apparently she did want to leave him.

      https://www.msd.govt.nz/about-msd-and-our-work/publications-resources/journals-and-magazines/rise/issue-seventeen/a-sister-to-lean-on.html

      I agree with your assessment of McVicar too. I think he’s a self-promoting attention seeker who seems very selective about the race and class of the criminals he chooses to focus on.

      Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  15th May 2016

      No, alas, nothing & nobody could convince her that she was signing her own death warrant-poor girl until it was too late-I’ve forgotten the details. From what I remember, her family saw it coming-but a wilful lass will have her way. The tattoo covered her whole cheek, I remember seeing it because it was so prominent. I bet that Romeo smirked when he saw it.

      I couldn’t hear what he was in A & E for (er, not that I was earwigging), but I hope it was something horrible.

      Reply
      • jamie

         /  15th May 2016

        Hopefully something horrible, painful, debilitating, irreversible, non-treatable, and very, very drawn out.

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  16th May 2016

          In one particular area or all over ?

          I have been rereading Dickens’s autobiographical writings, and he said that some people didn’t believe that Nancy’s love for the horrible Bill Sikes was credible-but Dickens knew that it was all too credible.Sikes wasn’t handsome or charming and Nancy knew that he might kill her one day, but she couldn’t leave him. It’s far more powerful than if he’d been an obvious romantic hero who was also a cad. Dickens knew human nature.

          There’s a story in the Boz sketches which I suspect is based upon a real case; a girl dying in hospital because she’s been beaten so badly. Her partner has been taken by the police and, I think, a magistrate, to the hospital for some formality of identification, but she won’t say that he did it-it was an accident-she won’t say the words that she thinks will hang him, even though she’s told that it won’t make any difference and her denying that he did it won’t save him.. She still loves him and says that he never meant to hurt her…and reaches out to him. She’s prepared to die with a lie on her lips for the love of this man. How many times since then has that scene, or ones like it, been played out ?

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  16th May 2016

            I wonder if ‘Dion’s property’ guessed that one day he’d kill her. Possibly.

            When I saw him, it had been some years since this big brave man beat a girl to death to prove what a big manly fellow he was. It’s all but impossible to imagine why women fall for these men WHEN THEY’RE IN PRISON. Look at that lawyer-look at the one who, I think, married Malcolm Rewa-she was a career woman. How could anyone look at them and not be thinking all the time of what they’d done to those other women ? It’s possible that ‘Dion’s property’ was the only victim of his violence-but it’s most unlikely. And yet some women go out of their way to write to and have relationships with these men.

            A thought-I suppose that Dion grew up with violence, and so did his father and grandfather and….where does the blame lie ?

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  16th May 2016

              wires crossed..demetia1

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  17th May 2016

              Poor Blazer-I am sorry to hear that.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  17th May 2016

              You have my sincere sympathy if you have this terrible condition. What courage it must take to announce it.

  3. Corky

     /  15th May 2016

    “I can’t help but see him as an attention-seeker. Has he offered to foster any of these children at risk ? Petitioning won’t do anything, and I see little point in standing outside other courtrooms. What good will that do ? I know a couple who are showing their concern by fostering, and any child who goes there will be very lucky indeed. They can foster me if they like.”

    Might pay to do a little research, Kittycat.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  15th May 2016

      It was a question-has he ?

      Does anyone seriously imagine that standing outside courtrooms will change anything ? I don’t see child abusers saying Oh, look at that, I must stop abusing little X at once.

      Reply
      • Corky

         /  16th May 2016

        “I can’t help but see him as an attention-seeker. ” That’s an opinion, not a question. The rest are questions after the fact.

        “Does anyone seriously imagine that standing outside courtrooms will change anything ? ”

        Directly, no. It will do nothing. Indirectly, longer prison sentences and a tougher parole process are the fruits of continued SST pressure. More support for victims has also eventuated..

        You don’t think leafy suburban living uncaring liberals forced these changes,do you?

        Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  16th May 2016

        Uncaring people in any suburb don’t force changes.

        The biggest crock of all is the victim statement-which doesn’t. can’t make any difference. Yet people make them under the illusion that they will.

        People need to lobby, not stand outside courtrooms.

        Has he fostered needy children himself ?

        Reply
  4. Hall

     /  15th May 2016

    Violence among indigenous people is a by product of colonialism. You’ve been striped of everything and it takes generations to heal.

    Reply
    • Brown

       /  15th May 2016

      Bullshit. Maori were not peaceful pre European engagement and infanticide was common.

      Reply
      • Hall

         /  15th May 2016

        That’s calling the kettle black. Are there people on this planet that are peaceful? please tell. Because last time I checked European people have an extensive history of fighting and violence that carries on to this very day.

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  15th May 2016

          Where are the current wars in Europe ? Really, Halliver, you do talk some nonsense.

          Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  15th May 2016

        That upkin was from me, Brown-in agreement for once 😀

        Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  15th May 2016

      Tell us where it has ever healed? Seven generations later and it is still getting worse? Pretty clearly you have misdiagnosed the source of the problem.

      Reply
      • Hall

         /  15th May 2016

        It’s gotten worse because of racist attitude towards Maori. It’s people like Brown Iceberg and yourself that are the problem. Maybe we should round up people like yourself and send you all offshore to a detention centre on White island. You’re not helping the problem you are the problem.

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  15th May 2016

          I think that is the most wilfully stupid comment I have read for some time. Congratulations. There is not a skerrick of evidence to support any of it.

          Reply
        • Iceberg

           /  15th May 2016

          “Maybe we should round up people like yourself and send you all offshore to a detention centre”

          That’s pretty much where the left always end up. With a list. And a firing squad.

          Reply
    • Iceberg

       /  15th May 2016

      You’re right for a change. We pay them to have kids, then they beat them to death. It’s totally our fault.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  15th May 2016

        Hall, you do talk drivel. There is child abuse everywhere. In Victorian England, there was a massive amount of infanticide. A famous children’s home was begun by a sea captain who found some babies on a rubbish heap in London.

        You should read some 18th century and Victorian literature, fiction and non-fiction.

        I hope that Iceberg’s being satirical. The number beaten to death is a tiny percent. This doesn’t make it all right, but the idea that people are being paid to have children that they then beat to death cannot be taken seriously.

        Reply
    • Patricia Midwinter

       /  15th May 2016

      Bollocks!

      Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  15th May 2016

      No, it’s not bollocks. Who would pay people to do this ? The fact that it’s only a few doesn’t mean that it’s not appalling, but the idea that everyone on welfare beats their children to death is absurd. If it was that common, it wouldn’t make headlines when it happened.

      Reply
    • “Violence among indigenous people is a by product of colonialism.”

      In the real world, 6% of pre-colonial skeletons in NZ had fractures to the skulls (i.e. they were clubbed). A significant proportion of skeletons bore fractures to the forearm (a “defence” injury). The hard evidence is that violence in pre-colonial NZ was extremely common.

      This is supported by the oral evidence of Maori tribes, which are replete with stories of conquest, cannibalism and extermination of enemy tribes. If you live in Auckland, you can see the evidence yourself – the fortification of all those pa sites (people don’t build fortifications unless they are scared).

      Reply
      • Hall

         /  15th May 2016

        Yes but how are colonials different? that’s the point I’m making. British and Europeans were among the most violent and savage in the world around that time. The had to be in order to conquer other people.

        Reply
        • Hall

           /  15th May 2016

          When I say violence among indigenous people I’m talking about today not 300 years ago.

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  15th May 2016

            Nice try, but not good enough.

            You also insult the vast majority of Maori parents.

            Reply
  5. Iceberg

     /  15th May 2016

    “It’s a difficult and complex problem.”

    No, it isn’t. It’s a very simple. No child in my house has ever been beaten, let alone beaten to death.

    Children being born into welfare are being beaten to death. It’s not difficult and it’s not
    complex.

    The problem will never be fixed until the left own up to their creation of it.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  15th May 2016

      Most children born into welfare aren’t beaten to death.

      It has gone on forever, long before the DHB came about.

      Reply
    • Conspiratoor

       /  15th May 2016

      It will be a cold day in hell when the left own up to this festoring sore ice. And since maori leadership is in denial we can’t look to them for solutions either. The only way is to stop these maggots breeding so you have to give them an incentive. You want to continue to benefit from the taxpayers largesse you take a jab 4 times a year

      Reply
      • Iceberg

         /  15th May 2016

        “It will be a cold day in hell when the left own up to this festoring sore ice”

        That’s why we have this conversation year after year. Everybody wants the answer. Nobody on the left wants to listen to it. We’ve put billions into fixing it. Hundreds of govt departments, ngo’s and do-gooders have been involved. It’s got worse. No one is prepared to deal with the real issue.

        Reply
    • jamie

       /  15th May 2016

      No child in my house has been beaten to death either, Iceberg.

      I am not a plumber. You are not a plumber.

      Plumbers must be the problem.

      Reply
  6. Kitty Catkin

     /  15th May 2016

    If anyone has read David Copperfield, they will remember when he was being beaten by his stepfather, the sadistic and sanctimonious Mr Murdstone, and bit him. ‘He beat me then as if he would have beaten me half to death.’ It goes on to describe David’s feelings of terror, helplessness and ultimately rage-worse, in their way, than the pain. That sentence hasn’t a single emotive adjective, but it’s as chilling as anything I have read.

    And yes, everyone was afraid to intervene-it would have made it worse for the little boy.

    Reply
  7. Patricia Midwinter

     /  15th May 2016

    To make it clear: my comment “Bollocks”, was a reply to Hall’s “Violence among indigenous people is a by product of colonialism. You’ve been striped of everything and it takes generations to heal.” There were no comments below hers/his when I responded.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  15th May 2016

      No worries. As you can see from the thumbs his viewpoint isn’t wildly popular.

      Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  15th May 2016

      As soon as you said “Bollocks” I knew who you were talking about.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  15th May 2016

        Hee ! I did wonder. I don’t know why sometimes responses go in the right place and sometimes not. Pete ???

        Patricia, you will soon see that Hall is a bit of a Munchausen and also the resident expert upon everything.

        Reply
        • Hall

           /  15th May 2016

          Expert? Kitty you’re too kind.

          Reply
          • patupaiarehe

             /  15th May 2016

            Lets analyse the word ‘expert’
            In my math class at high school, ‘X’ was always an unknown figure.
            And in science, a ‘spurt’ was a drip under pressure.
            😛

            Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  16th May 2016

      Patricia, I gave you an uptick as a sign of goodwill 🙂

      You will find that Hall considers himself an expert on any given topic, usually because he has personal experience. When the Dunedin balcony collapsed, he knew all about it because he had a medical student friend who was there at the time.

      Reply

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