9 Nov 2017

'It's the sort of story you never forget'

12:09 pm on 9 November 2017

The mother of a teenage girl who went missing in 1983 has spoken movingly about the day her daughter disappeared.

Robyn Jensen at home, 2017, under a photo of her missing daughter Kirsa.

Robyn Jensen at home under a photo of her missing daughter Kirsa. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Kirsa Jensen disappeared more than 34 years ago. Her mother Robyn, speaking at the launch of a new online alert system for missing children, said she had worked in secondary schools for over 30 years, teaching music and then as a school counsellor, and she wholeheartedly supported the Amber alerts.

She told the audience about the day her daughter did not come home in spring 1983, when 14-year-old Kirsa went for a ride on her horse Commodore along a Napier beach.

She was never seen again, and few traces of her have ever been found.

Location of the gun emplacement where Kirsa Jensen was last seen.

Location of the gun emplacement where Kirsa Jensen was last seen. Photo: Google maps

"Today I want to share a very sad story, or some of that story.

"It's the sort of story you never forget, nor do you get over it, nor does it go away. In 1983 I was living in Napier.

"I was in my first year of teaching ... my son Michael, 16, was in the sixth form, and his sister Kirsa, was in form four.

"There was a paddock, it housed Kirsa's three sheep and her newly acquired horse, Commodore. He was the love of Kirsa's life. She had two ambitions: to be a vet and to ride for New Zealand.

"This was in the midst of the school holiday.

"After lunch Kirsa got Commodore from the paddock and groomed him. Her friend usually accompanied her. On this day her friend was going tramping, Kirsa called out 'Bye', and I answered from inside the house 'Bye sweetheart'.

"I looked at my watch. 2.45pm. I would have expected her home around 5pm."

But Kirsa didn't come home on time.

"It was starting to get dark. 'I hope nothing has happened to her,' I said. I had a deep-seated feeling that she was in trouble, that something was very wrong ... it soon became apparent that something terrible had happened. Something was terribly wrong."

Police found Commodore running loose without a rider.

"I gave police [details] of her clothes, he went to his car and radioed this information through.

"He told me the horse near the bridge had been identified as Commodore. I imagined Kirsa to be lying somewhere close by, probably injured.

"I looked out at the now dark sky. 'Kirsa darling, where are you?' I whispered."

She said that first day of spring was the darkest day of her life and marked the beginning of 34 years of waiting - so far.