March­ing to stop child abuse

Auckland City Harbour News - - FRONT PAGE - CATRIN OWEN

An Auck­land mother is taking to the streets to march for Moko on May 22.

Karis Ve­sey has been fol­low­ing the case of Moko Ran­gi­to­heriri and de­cided enough was enough.

‘‘The na­tion needs to wake up about it.

‘‘New Zealand has the fifth worst child abuse record in the OECD and it’s not OK,’’ she says.

‘‘To march is not just about get­ting the Govern­ment, but peo­ple to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for their kids.’’

Ve­sey, who lives in Mt Al­bert, is a sup­port worker at Women’s Refuge and has or­gan­ised a march in Auck­land which has em­pow­ered moth­ers around the coun­try to or­gan­ise marches too.

Moko Ran­gi­to­heriri was sub­jected to re­peated child abuse by his car­ers for two months prior to his death.

He was hit, kicked, bit­ten, thrown, dropped and stomped which led to his death in Taupo Hospi­tal on Au­gust 10, 2015.

His car­ers David Haw­era and Ta­nia Shailer pleaded guilty to man­slaugh­ter on May 2 and will be sen­tenced on June 27 at the Ro­torua High Court.

The Sen­si­ble Sen­tenc­ing Trust is aim­ing to en­sure the death of Moko is not in vain.

Trust founder Garth McVicar says the trust would turn Moko’s death into a cat­a­lyst for change.

‘‘The as­saults were pre­med­i­tated and pro­longed fit­ting all the cri­te­ria for mur­der.

‘‘The fact the Crown has ac­cepted a guilty plea of man- slaugh­ter smacks of col­lu­sion of the high­est de­gree and is sym­bolic of New Zealand’s hor­rific level of child abuse,’’ McVicar says.

Moko’s older sis­ter Anna did her best to pro­tect him from the abuse but she couldn’t save him.

Anna was only 7. On the day Moko died, the care­givers forced her to kick him oth­er­wise she too would be beaten.

Ve­sey en­cour­ages peo­ple who choose to march to wear blue not just for Moko but to take a stand against child abuse.

The Auck­land march will be­gin at Aotea Square at 1pm on May 22 and slowly make its way down Queen St to Queen El­iz­a­beth Square.

For more in­for­ma­tion head to Facebook and search "I will march for Moko’’.

‘‘To march is not just about get­ting the Govern­ment, but peo­ple to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for their kids’’

Karis Ve­sey

PHOTO: CATRIN OWEN

Karis Ve­sey is march­ing for Moko on May 22.

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