Moving on from place of healing
Four years after her daughter was brutally murdered in Titahi Bay, Dianne Pekama is ready to leave the suburb that helped her heal.
Joelene Edwards, 21, and her 16- year- old flatmate Jashana Robinson were beaten to death by Joelene’s ex-partner, Joseph Ogle, early on June 26, 2009.
Ogle beat Joelene with a baseball bat, then bashed Jashana to death in front of her before killing Joelene, too.
He then left the Morere St house for two hours, before pretending he had just discovered the grisly scene and calling 111.
In the intervening hours Joelene and Ogle’s two infant daughters had discovered their mother’s body.
Ogle had been released a month earlier from a prison sentence for beating his mother and sister, and was jealous that Joelene had a new partner. He was imprisoned for life with a minimum of 19 years behind bars for the double murder.
The Titahi Bay community poured out its grief and love after the murders, holding a vigil at the murder scene, said Joelene’s mother Miss Pekama.
Many locals attended Joelene’s funeral in Rotorua, as did Porirua’s entire police homicide team.
‘‘That showed me that the Bay had a lot of love for these girls,’’ she said. Miss Pekama singles out neighbours the Adamses and the Matthews-Moenoas, her landlord and her friend Michelle for their support since Joelene’s death.
After Joelene’s funeral and Ogle’s trial, Miss Pekama moved with her small grand-daughters to Rotorua, but felt suffocated by her family’s concern.
‘‘It was like I had no time to grieve. My grieving was coming back here. I needed to go back to where it happened and face it,’’ she said.
Every day she walked on Titahi Bay beach, something Joelene did in all weather.
‘‘Joelene loved it here. This has been a beautiful place for me to heal,’’ she said.
Two weeks ago, Miss Pekama and her family moved back to Rotorua.
Reminders of Joelene were all around their Titahi Bay home when Kapi-Mana News visited, from her jandals still sitting in the hallway to the large tattoos of her name on the forearms of her mother and sister.
‘‘I went through the most traumatic, hardest trial in my life, losing my daughter,’’ Miss Pekama said.
‘‘When I was told, I just let out this roar.’’
Her worst memories from 2009 involve visiting the murder scene for a Maori blessing.
The family had asked police to clean away any blood, but evidence numbers remained all over the walls, floor and ceiling, showing the brutality of the crime.
Before her death, Joelene had been her happiest in years, Miss Pekama said.
‘‘She met someone and she fell in love with him.
‘‘This guy made her feel loved, something that [ Ogle] never showed her.’’
Despite knowing of Ogle’s jealousy, Joelene refused to move away from the Bay.
‘‘She wasn’t going to let him control her or scare her.’’
Joelene was supposed to attend a barbecue at her mother’s house the night before the murder, but her last words to Miss Pekama were over the phone, cancelling their plans.
‘‘That was the first time I ever heard her say, ‘I love you, mum’.’’
Fond farewell: Joelene Edmonds’ family is ready to leave her beloved Titahi Bay after four years of grieving her murder. From left, Joelene’s niece Shazia Begg, 1, sister Stevieanne Edmonds, brother-in-law Afraaz Begg, daughter Iezha, 5, brother Ringo Wharepapa, 16, mother Dianne Pekama, and daughter Vanesti, 6.