Look­ing for one that got away

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - CHRISTINA PERSICO

Forty years af­ter al­most mar­ry­ing his girl, John Wa­ters is on a hunt to find out where she ended up.

He met Julie - whose cur­rent sur­name is un­known - on a blind date sug­gested by a rugby mate in 1976.

Their paths crossed sev­eral times since then, but one of them was al­ways mar­ried to some­one else, and they haven’t spo­ken in 20 years.

Now liv­ing in Toko­roa, Wa­ters [67] said when he’d last heard from Julie, she had met a guy and moved to Strat­ford.

All he knew about her was that she was born Julie Cor­nelius in Pu­taruru, grew up in Napier and later trained as a Kar­i­tane nurse in Whanganui. He es­ti­mated she would now be about 58 or 59 years old.

He de­scribed her as a short­ish Maori girl.

‘‘We just seemed to hit it off quite well,’’ he re­called.

They went their sep­a­rate ways, un­til Julie heard that John was in hos­pi­tal in 1980.

‘‘She came over on her mo­tor­bike to come and visit with me.’’

By that time, how­ever, Julie was mar­ried.

‘‘Noth­ing hap­pened be­cause she was mar­ried and I re­spected that.’’

A few years later they met again - but this time John was the one who was mar­ried.

‘‘I don’t know how the heck we kept catch­ing up with each other. Our paths kept cross­ing all the time.’’

He has no idea where she might be now.

‘‘I kept think­ing about Julie and how she was get­ting on with her life,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s like the one that got away.’’

‘‘I’d like to rekin­dle that friend­ship that we have. Whether she’s mar­ried or sin­gle or passed on, I don’t know.’’

Wa­ters’ sis­ter, Jo Davis, said her brother had been look­ing for Julie for a while.

‘‘They were quite a happy cou­ple.’’

She thought the age dif­fer­ence may have been a fac­tor in their sep­a­ra­tion.

‘‘I did say to him ‘maybe she doesn’t want to be found’.’’

Wa­ters said he’d had no idea where Pu­taruru was un­til he moved to Toko­roa with his fourth wife.

‘‘That brought it all back about Julie and I couldn’t get it out of my head.

‘‘I’ve never ever for­got­ten her.’’ The fa­ther of Moko Ran­gi­to­heriri, the tod­dler who was beaten to death in Taupo, will serve at least two more months in prison af­ter be­ing de­clined pa­role.

Jor­dan Tawa Ran­gi­to­heriri, 30, is serv­ing a sen­tence of two years and seven months for a dan­ger­ous act with in­tent to in­jure, un­law­ful pos­ses­sion of a firearm and driv­ing of­fences. The charges were laid af­ter he shot at a ve­hi­cle in Toko­roa in 2016.

Ran­gi­to­heriri was orig­i­nally meant to ap­pear in court on the same day that his son’s killers, David Haerewa and Ta­nia Shailer, were sen­tenced for the 3-yearold’s man­slaugh­ter.

The pair beat Moko to death af­ter his mother left him in their care while she stayed with her el­dest child at Star­ship Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal.

Ran­gi­to­heriri ap­peared be­fore the Pa­role Board in May.

The board said Ran­gi­to­heriri had a ‘‘sig­nif­i­cant’’ crim­i­nal his­tory, in­clud­ing as­sault charges, breaches of court or­ders and driv­ing of­fences.

The de­ci­sion noted the se­nior Black Power mem­ber was still con­sid­ered as the ‘‘god­fa­ther’’ of his gang, al­though an­other mem­ber had taken over lead­er­ship of his chap­ter.

Ran­gi­to­heriri had com­pleted a re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion pro­gramme, which had helped with his com­mu­ni­ca­tion is­sues, the board said.

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