Stop killing Maori babies

Credit: Te Punui Kokiri

My first post on Whaleoil as a wide-eyed intern was about
Moko Rangitoheriri, the three year old boy who suffered prolonged abuse and torture at the hands of his whanau, before he eventually died of his injuries.

Here I am again, 18 months later, banging the same old drum.

Not one, but two Maori babies are in the news at the moment, both killed either deliberately or because of wilful neglect.

Donna Parangi is the mother of Lacey Te Whetu. She and her partner Shane Neil both pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of their son. They had left him asleep in the car outside Parangi’s home near Whakatane back in November 2015. All three adults were smoking synthetic cannabis, and basically, they just forgot about him. Left him in the car, in the hot sun, for hours. When he was found, sweaty, hot and limp, instead of immediately calling for medical help, they put him to bed and went back to sleep because they were so stoned. You can read more of this sorry family and their appalling neglect of their child in A Newspaper.

This is not about being homeless. Their baby died in a car while they were visiting family. Where they live is irrelevant.

This is not about being poor. The couple had a $40 a day drug habit, so they had plenty of money.

This is about neglect. There is nothing that you or I could do to prevent this. It was up to his family to put his needs first, and they failed abysmally.

Then we have the 4 week old baby in Northland, Maree Ngahere.

A man has been charged with the murder of a 4-week-old baby in Northland. 

Police launched an investigation after Maree Takuira Mita Ngahere was found dead in February and a post mortem examination revealed she had died of non-accidental injuries. 

Northland CIB Acting Detective Inspector Lloyd Schmid said on Wednesday that a 22-year-old man faced one charge of murder. He also faces a charge of assault on a child in relation to a separate matter.


A 22 year old man versus a 4 week old baby. Actually I can’t really call him a man, because he killed a tiny defenceless baby and obviously has a track record with other offences against children. That’s not a man.

There is nothing you or I could have done to prevent this baby from being killed. It was up to his family to care for him.

Child Matters tells us that every 5 weeks, a child in New Zealand is killed. That’s 10 children a year. Most of these children are under 5, and the largest group is less than a year old. Babies. Ninety percent of all child deaths are perpetrated by someone the child knew.

Let’s look at the numbers according to Oranga Tamariki (Child Youth & Family):

  • 53% of all children with neglect findings are Maori.
  • 64% of admissions to care and protection residences are Maori.
  • 46% of all children with abuse findings are Maori.

When you consider that Maori only represent approximately 15% of the total population, these numbers are terrible.

This is not racism, these are facts.

Families need to step up and take responsibility. They need to stop blaming the government, stop blaming poverty and education and homelessness and start looking out for their babies.