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Moko's death a reminder of Nia: coroner

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 5/05/2016

Lisa Kuka, mother of Nia Glassie, comforts one of her children at the graveside during the burial service at the Tokoroa Cemetary for Nia Glassie following her funeral that was held at the St Lukes Pacific Islander's Church on August 9, 2007 in Tokoroa, New Zealand. © Getty Images Lisa Kuka, mother of Nia Glassie, comforts one of her children at the graveside during the burial service at the Tokoroa Cemetary for Nia Glassie following her funeral that was held at the St Lukes Pacific Islander's Church on August 9, 2007 in Tokoroa, New Zealand. A coroner is questioning whether eight years after the horrific death of three-year-old Nia Glassie any lessons relating to child abuse have been learned.

Bay of Plenty Coroner Wallace Bain, who presided over the 2011 inquest into Nia's death, is now to oversee a similar exercise relating to three-year-old Moko Rangitoheriri, who died of injuries suffered while he was in the care of a Taupo couple who pleaded guilty on Monday to his manslaughter.

In a statement released on Thursday, Coroner Bain said, based on the information he has so far, there are a large number of questions that need addressing.

Moko Rangitoheriri © NZ Police Moko Rangitoheriri These include the suitability of those who cared for Moko in the two months before his death, what checks were made on them and on Moko's safety and well-being while in their care.

He also queries whether anyone else was aware of the assaults and injuries the child suffered, if they had come to the attention of welfare and educational agencies and if so what action, if any, was taken.

Drawing parallels with Nia's case, he said he was again considering such serious consequences of caregivers mistreating a child.

Sadly, the horrific abuse Nia suffered appears on the face of it to have been accentuated in a worse way in the death of little Moko eight years later, he said.

He noted a number of very clear and strong recommendations were made at the Glassie inquest to stop such tragic deaths occurring again, yet another had.

The inquest into Moko's death will look specifically at what steps, if any, have been taken by those identified as having some responsibility in keeping children safe, and if those steps are adequate, he said.

A date has yet to be set for Moko Rangitoheriri's inquest.

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