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'Why didn't they help?': Moko's mum

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 16/05/2016

Moko Rangitoheriri © Mediaworks Moko Rangitoheriri The mother of three-year-old Moko Rangitoheriri says she missed the signs of abuse that led to his death, but officials should have done something.

Nicola Dally-Paki left her son and daughter with friends for two months while she accompanied another child to Auckland's Starship Hospital.

At the end of two months, Moko was dead after suffering horrific abuse at the hands of his carers.

Early childhood teacher Tania Shailer, 26, and David William Haerewa, 43, were initially charged with murder but have admitted a lesser charge of manslaughter.

Ms Dally-Paki has since had facial tattoos to mark Moko and her other children.

"She [Shailer] portrayed to be, genuine, to be a friend, to be loving ... I didn't know about them being mentally unstable," Ms Dally-Paki told TV3's Story programme.

Nicola Dally-Paki © Mediaworks Nicola Dally-Paki

She had no idea what had been going on for the last two weeks of Moko's life. She had tried to ring to speak to her children from Auckland, but wasn't allowed.

"Those should have been the signs I should have picked up on."

Her eight-year-old daughter witnessed Moko's abuse and was even forced to even take part, Ms Dally-Paki said.

Story reported Shailer had contacted Child, Youth and Family about having six children in her care, 12 days before Moko's death, but Ms Dally-Paki wasn't told.

She felt let down.

"My son might be a veggie now, but he'd still be alive ... my son could be recovering right now, he wouldn't be six feet under. They knew something was up, why didn't they help?"

CYF, in a statement to media, says it was not made aware of any critical concerns for Moko while in the couple's care. It did not know Haerewa was living with Shailer.

Children's Commissioner Russell Wills told Newshub he felt there was little CYF could do to help the toddler.

"There wasn't concern about Moko in the care of Tania before this," he said.

"It's hard to see how Child, Youth and Family could have done anything differently that would have changed the outcome here."

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