Moko inquest: grandmother 'screamed and yelled' for help

9:02 am on 31 August 2017

The grandmother of Moko Rangitoheriri has told an inquest she has only "silent tears" left for the toddler.

Nicola Rangitoheriri, grandmother of Moko Rangitoheriri, gives evidence at the inquest  into the three year old's death.

Nicola Rangitoheriri, grandmother of Moko Rangitoheriri, gives evidence at the inquest into the 3-year-old's death. Photo: Pool / Alan Gibson

The inquest into the 3-year-old's death began in the Rotorua District Court yesterday in front of coroner Wallace Bain.

Moko Sayviah Rangitoheriri

Moko Sayviah Rangitoheriri Photo: NZ POLICE

Moko died on 10 August 2015 after suffering horrific injuries, which the coroner said made other abuses look like kindergarten.

He had been left in Taupō with Tania Shailer and David Haerewa while his mother, Nicola Dally-Paki, was in Auckland's Starship hospital looking after another child. Shailer and Haerewa were sentenced to 17 years in prison for Moko's manslaughter last year.

The child's grandmother, Nicola Rangitoheriri, told the court she would not have trusted children to Shailer, from what she knew of her.

Rotoua Coroner Dr Wallace Bain pictured at the cornoners inquest into the death of Moko Rangitoheriri held at the Rotorua District Court.

Rotoua Coroner Dr Wallace Bain. Photo: Pool / Alan Gibson

She began her statement by expressing her frustration at the lack of answers following the toddler's death.

"So many questions with no answers," she said.

"Where does the accountability lay, and with whom? How many times and with how many people has this been asked? I guess we'll never know."

She said she felt she had done everything she could as a grandmother but had not got anywhere.

Mrs Rangitoheriri said she had wanted to look after the children, but that offer was rejected by the children's mother.

Fighting back tears, she criticised police, Child Youth and Family, and the children's lawyer.

"I screamed and yelled but no one heard me or helped me. My Moko screamed and yelled but no one heard him or helped him, or heard my granddaughter's cries while all this was happening. No one.

"Who was there for her? No one."

She called for agencies to listen more when people speak out.

"How, I ask, are we meant to be a voice for all our babies, when no one hears us?

"Five minutes of your time could have made a difference.

"I have no more screams or yells; I have only silent tears from what's in my heart and soul. No one can hear those, but I pray to God everyone in this room can feel them."

The coroner acknowledged Mrs Rangitoheriri felt she was not listened to and did not know where to go to keep her grandchildren safe.

"You felt abandoned," he said.

Mr Bain asked Mrs Rangitoheriri whether it would help if an organisation or 0800 number was set up for people to express concern.

Mrs Rangitoheriri said it would, but the organisation would need to do "proper follow ups".

Moko's mother, Nicola Dally-Paki, earlier also demanded answers about why authorities had not come to her directly when concerns were raised about her children.

The inquest continues this morning with further evidence from staff at Oranga Tamariki, formerly Child Youth and Family.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs