28 Mar 2012

Friends back NZ mother's fight for children

8:34 pm on 28 March 2012

Whanau and friends have set up a website and a fund to help a Ngapuhi mother, Mihi Puriri, of Kaikohe, fight for custody of her children in Algeria.

Ms Puriri, 33, hasn't seen her three children - aged between one and five years - since she escaped six weeks ago from her husband, Algerian boxer Mohamed Azzaoui.

The woman says Mr Azzaoui tricked her into going to Algeria by falsely claiming that his father was terminally ill, then destroyed their passports and held the family captive.

The website at: mihipuriri.com has had dozens of supportive comments and donations since it went live at the weekend.

A number of posts urge the New Zealand Government to intervene on Ms Puriri's behalf, and some accuse the Government of contributing to her problems, after an early direct approach by diplomatic staff.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is reviewing its actions, but says the best option now is for Ms Puriri to pursue her rights through the Algerian courts.