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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  • Sally

    There is absolutely no mitigating circumstances. It was prolong abuse – maximum sentence, no parole.

    • Aucky

      In which case the Defence will immediately appeal (on our dime) and get the sentence reduced. Our Justice system is now totally dysfunctional and I’m thinking that if the British people can take back their country it’s not a major ask for Kiwis to take back their justice system and have it back dispensing appropriate sentencing in a timely manner. To wait for up to two years for a jury trial is just ludicrous.

  • phronesis

    I hadn’t heard the bit about Shailer being an early childcare teacher before. I wonder if she was registered…

  • Mine it,Drill it,Sell it.

    Marama Fox seems more concerned with legal Smoko than poor little Moko.

  • cyberspider

    Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox stormed out of a television interview yesterday accusing a cigarette company representative of peddling death, destruction and misery among ‘Her people’. ‘Her people’ are causing enough death and misery among themselves without the assistance of tobacco. Time and time again innocent Maori children are murdered despite all the Hui, all the talk and ‘hand wringing’ by Government agencies and so called Maori leaders. These despicable, disgusting acts committed against Maori children are far more important and pressing than shower curtains, bone fragments, preserved heads, Maori inspired Tattoos, use of Haka etc. Such events provoke Maori into immediate action and yet what action is being taken by Maori to save these poor children from disgusting thugs such as Shailer and Haewera? The manslaughter charge is simply a joke. I really must end here as the photo of the pathetic Shailer and Haewera is making me sick with anger……..

  • herewego

    Incomprehensible cruelty and wilful negligence. Early Childhood Teacher (or any decent human being) must know better than this – I’m with a maximum, no parole.

    Our society needs to wake up to itself

  • JEL51

    Tomorrow. I will be absolutely gobsmacked if the mother of that little man will be paraded out into everyones lounges again too. One child under 24hr professional care for weeks on end while two others totally ignored. Choices no one should have had to make but made them she did. Questions needed there too.

  • Greg M

    Because they have entered guilty pleas, it’s an automatic 25% off. That cuts it to 7.5 years, eligible for parole after serving 1/3 or in other words back on the street in 2.5 years. something is so very wrong when a kids life is worth so little.

  • Dave

    Moko is dead, nothing will bring him back, and whilst the eternally outraged and entitled scream for justice, unfortunately no amount of “justice” or the locking up of these two will stop this happening again, and again, and again. Sure I want them to go away until they are so old they cannot remember life outside at all. However, the real parents are still walking around, their kids are STILL in CYFS care, and many similar ferals still have access to their kids, of Some Other Chaps Kids to main, injure or kill. Far better those calling for Justice spend a few hours campaigning in the wider community to out those who are likely to commit this kind of crime against the children, and family units. Nah, we all know it wont happen, so sad.

    • cyberspider

      Dave, I agree that locking up these two halfwits won’t bring justice to poor little Moko. Do you really believe that if the ‘eternally outraged and entitled’ (as you put it) spent a few hours in the community campaigning to those who are likely to commit such atrocities it would make a difference? What do you suggest – Placards proclaiming ‘Maori stop killing your children’ or a nice and fluffy tea and scones approach? My recently deceased Mother was physically and mentally abused by Maori foster parents in the 1950’s – it’s not a recent phenomenon. What do you suggest society does with these two thugs who brutally ended Moko’s life?

  • Plantagenet

    Nothing much will happen to these despicable people. They’ve been convicted for manslaughter which means they’ll get maybe ten years at the most and will serve eight of that. In an ideal world we’d lock them up and promptly lose the key but we now value criminals, and their ‘rights’, over and above anything else.

  • Mick Ie

    As long as we have strong leaders such as Jenny Salesa focusing on the injustices of imaginary fat cartoon characters, and Marama Fox working to stop ‘her people’ from their personal choice of smoking, the future of our most vulnerable children is safe hands. Surely?

  • Keanne Lawrence

    It is a sad heart wrenching thing for this to be dragged out so long but this particularly heinous, painful and prolonged slaughter of an innocent child has the majority stifling what they would really like to say.
    Meanwhile the minority who have the means, power and position to stem such tragedy ignore it with a silence that speaks volumes.

  • peterwn

    I had a look at the Crimes Act and Sentencing Act. As is well known, penalty for manslaughter is life imprisonment, but a judge can impose only up to a 10 year non parole period (murder seems to be the only crime that has open ended non parole periods). Rather surprisingly with ‘preventative detention’ a judge may impose a longer minimum period, but preventative detention would not be used where life imprisonment is available. The most relevant precedent in my view is the re-sentencing of Dean Wickliffe when the Court of Appeal downgraded his murder conviction to manslaughter because Dean successfully argued that he did not mean to shoot Paul Miet the jeweller but his finger was extra twitchy or some such excuse. The Court did not downgrade the life sentence as the circumstances came within a whisker of murder. In the current case the circumstances are more dire so based on the Wickliffe case a life sentence would be amply justified and hopefully the Crown will strenuously argue along these lines. It is however unfortunate that the court cannot impose more than a 10 year minimum.

    For the future, consideration should be given to splitting manslaughter into two separate crimes as well as perhaps rearranging the boundary between murder and manslaughter. As things stand, manslaughter covers most homicide situations that are not murder. It is thus a ‘broad spectrum’ crime warranting anything from the wet bus ticket to life imprisonment. This is possibly why there is reluctance to impose really stiff sentences for manslaughter.

  • George Carter

    i’ll be mortified if I hear the term “X, Y or Z was taken into account when sentencing”. Nothing these two have or could do should influence them receiving the toughest sentence possible.

  • Aucky

    Ten years, out in five, less time in custody will see these two creatures out in a tad over four years.

    I hope I’m totally wrong.

  • Bruce Rayner

    I can see riot behaviour happening if the judge doesnt hand out a suitable sentence.No parole would be a starter.