Moko’s manslaughterers face sentencing tomorrow

Moko Rangitoheriri

Moko Rangitoheriri

That face will haunt this country for generations to come.

It’s been more than 10 months since the death of three-year-old Moko Rangitoheriri — and now, the caregivers who killed him are about to be sentenced for manslaughter.

How dare they even describe those animals as “caregivers”?

On Monday morning, Tania Shailer and David Haerewa will find out their punishment for beating the toddler so badly that he eventually died on August 10, 2015.

The pair had been asked to look after Moko and his seven-year-old sister while their mother, Nicola Dally-Paki, was at Starship Hospital caring for one of her other children.

Instead, they tortured Moko so terribly that when it came time for Ms Dally-Paki to identify the toddler’s body in the morgue, she could not even recognise her son.

Coroner Wallace Bain is overseeing the inquest into Moko’s death, and has compared it to the tragic death of Rotorua toddler Nia Glassie eight years ago.

Ms Dally-Paki says her young daughter was the first person to tell her about the horrific abuse Moko had suffered.

“She told me that Moko was locked in the bathroom for two weeks. She’d tried to stay home from school to try and feed my son, ’cause they were starving him,”

She says her daughter told her: “‘He wasn’t talking Mummy. I tried to tell David, and I told Tania he’s not talking and he needs to see the doctor, and they wouldn’t listen Mummy.'”

While blame landed squarely at the feet of Shailer and Haerewa, Child, Youth and Family (CYF) has also received heavy criticism for not doing more to protect Moko.

When the organisation met with Shailer just two weeks before his death she mentioned the “personal strain” of looking after two additional children. CYF also admitted it wasn’t aware that Haerewa was living with her at the time.

Haerewa later admitted to police that he’d slapped, kicked and stomped on Moko, and confessed he would regularly lock the toddler in a bathroom on his own for hours at a time.

A summary of facts also revealed that Shailer, who was an early childcare teacher, stomped on Moko’s stomach and abdomen — injuries believed to have been the main contributors to his death.

Haerewa and Shailer’s defence entered a plea bargain that resulted in their murder charges being downgraded to manslaughter. The pair pleaded guilty to those charges.

So here is the thing. As I understand it, manslaughter is not a lighter charge than murder because it carries the same maximum penalty. To prove murder, the crown needs to prove that this was the premeditated intent. Even though a reasonable person would see the death as an inevitable consequence, it isn’t sufficient to prove they meant to kill him.

So it’s been up to the judge to pick an appropriate sentence.

Due to the prolonged nature of the torture, the public is expecting something close to the maximum. Can you imagine anything worse that warrants a bigger sentence?

Whatever happens in Monday’s sentencing, there is no doubt that Moko’s death will have a lasting impact.

Outgoing Children’s Commissioner Russell Wills says the case has caused him to question humanity, and says the toddler’s death will haunt him forever.

Tania Shailer and David Haerewa

Tania Shailer and David Haerewa

Maximum. No parole.

Anything less will prove that New Zealand does not value its children.



– Newshub


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.