As you will know 3-year-old Moko Rangitoheriri was brutally beaten and tortured and left to die in the hallway of his caregivers’ home in Taupo last year.
Moko’s mother Nicola was in Auckland caring for a seriously sick child at Starship children’s hospital, who required several operations during a two-month stay.
Her young son was in and out of intensive care – she slept in his room on the ward.
The violence towards Moko took place over two weeks, it may have been longer.
Imagine how frightening it would have been. He had no voice and no way to escape. His incredibly brave sister risked her own safety trying to help her little brother. But a child is no match for adult monsters.
Moko was denied any medical care. It would have been like a real life horror movie – except it was real.
He was dying over a period of days and no adult in the house bothered to get him care. They went out of their way to make sure he didn’t actually.
They barely got him a glass of water. He couldn’t be saved.
I’ve been overwhelmed with public feedback after my interview with Moko’s mum this week. People are rightly horrified that this could happen in our country.
Business owners, mums and dads and some well-known New Zealanders have approached me and asked what they can do to stop this.
I didn’t know what to say except spread the message that this must stop and that violence and abuse towards children, or indeed anyone, is unacceptable.
But we must demand that something happens. And it starts with parenting.
Because only parents can truly and honestly love a child in my view. The state or government can’t see through walls into people’s homes.
But there will always be bad parents. So we must intervene in these families early.
We need someone to teach love. Short of stopping these people breeding, we need to teach them what the generations before have failed to do.
If the cycle is not broken it will continue.
This means getting in early and living with them. Like a surrogate third parent. It’s expensive and time consuming and hard – but it will save lives.
And they also need just one leader within these families to stop the violence. Much like the sober driver system, we need families to nominate the leader within.
I have faith in Moko’s mum, Nicola. I have got to know her over the past 10 days. She needs her other two children back from Child, Youth and Family care now. Read more »