6 Jul 2016

Moko's killers were paid over $1k for his care

7:47 pm on 6 July 2016

A couple were paid over $1000 to care for three-year-old Moko Rangitoheriri and his sister, but instead Tania Shailer and David William Haerewa subjected the boy to months of abuse and eventually killed him.

Shailer and Haerewa were sentenced last month to 17 years in prison, with a minimum non-parole period of nine years, after admitting to manslaughter charges.

Moko Sayviah Rangitoheriri

Moko Rangitoheriri Photo: NZ Police

There was a public outcry over the Crown downgrading the charges from murder.

The pair had subjected the boy to months of abuse, leaving him with the ruptured bowel and head injury that killed him. In the last 24 hours of his life, Moko was stomped on and choked. He was so sick he could not stand or control his bowels. Haerewa responded by kicking the child, rubbing faeces in his face and shutting him in his room for hours.

The Rotorua High Court today released documents from the case's court file to RNZ.

They detail the sad and disturbing background to the case, which inspired hundreds to take to the streets around the country demanding an end to child abuse.

The documents showed Moko's mother, Nicola-Dally Paki, who was supporting one of her other children at Starship Hospital, had paid Shailer and Haerewa to look after him.

The file also showed the decision to downgrade the charges from murder to manslaughter went all the way to the deputy solicitor-general.

It showed the pair had a list of previous convictions between them that ran to 14 pages. Haewera had 109 convictions, including four relating to domestic violence and two to aggravated robbery. Shailer had six convictions for shoplifting.

Tania Shailer and David William Haerewa are being sentenced at the High Court in Rotorua for the manslaughter of Moko Rangitoheriri.

Tania Shailer, left, and David William Haerewa, far right, were convicted and sentenced in the High Court in Rotorua in June. Photo: SCREENSHOT / TV3

It revealed Haewera was a former patched gang member - and, according to documents filed by Shailer's lawyer, he had a violent relationship with Shailer, the mother of his children.

Opposition to court documents' release

The Crown had opposed the pair's criminal histories being released, arguing they were not relevant at sentencing and to protect the pair's privacy.

Justice Katz concluded the pair's previous convictions were not relevant at sentencing but ruled the media was entitled to test that finding, and the convictions were entered in open court.

She also concluded there was strong public interest in the case, and the extra details should be revealed in the interests of open justice.

The Crown had also opposed releasing the sentencing submissions, despite media guidelines for prosecutors put out by Crown Law saying sentencing submissions could be released.

Ron Mansfield

Ron Mansfield Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker WIlson

Again, Justice Katz ruled there was strong public interest and the public had a right to be fully informed.

Submissions filed by Shailer's lawyer, Ron Mansfield, revealed more about his client's background of poverty and mental health problems.

Haerewa was violent towards Shailer, and that left her with depression and possibly post-traumatic stress disorder, Mr Mansfield said.

Moko came from a violent home and was violent towards Shailer's four children, he said.

The added responsibility of caring for the extra children increased the financial pressure on the household and Shailer could not cope, the lawyer said. She was smoking cannabis every day. Her stress triggered rage and her rage triggered violence.

Shailer approached Child Youth and Family and the Māori women's refuge but got no help, he said.

A mental health report showed Shailer failed to remember Moko was just a three-year-old, he said.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs