Kelly Makiha is the Rotorua Daily Post's head of news

Editorial: Big decision to leave children in carer's hand

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Moko Rangitoheriri.
Moko Rangitoheriri.

Just over four years ago, I dropped off my toddler to a woman who was a relative stranger and headed back to work after a year on maternity leave.

I was crying so much, my make-up was everywhere.

I had to pull over on my way to the office so I could pull myself together. Will her carer know how she likes her apple cut? Will she cuddle her if she topples over and scrapes her knees?

Of course she will. Choosing a carer was the biggest decision I had made in my life and I made sure I had it right. When you get that wrong, the consequences can be devastating.

Such was the case for 3-year-old Taupo boy Moko Rangitoheriri who was killed by the two people trusted to care for him. So here we go again.

More outrage, more questions, more tears for a little child whose life was cut short at the hands of monsters.

The carers - Tania Shailer and David William Haerewa - were given Moko to look after while his mother cared for another child in Starship Hospital.

Over a two-month period he was kicked, bitten, stomped on and slapped.

He was beaten to the point where he suffered facial swelling, internal bleeding, septic shock from his leaking bowel and swelling of the brain. Then he died.

An infuriating part of the case was hearing how the couple's animosity towards the toddler increased. Haerewa told police he "didn't like [Moko's] ways" and that he was "angry at him for taking us for granted".

That's incomprehensible. The child is 3, for goodness' sake.

There's much debate as to why the Crown allowed the couple to plead to the lesser charge of manslaughter, rather than go through with a murder trial. We are not legal experts and don't fully understand the Crown's reasons.

However, the final fate for this pair rests in the hands of the sentencing judge.

In the meantime, we will go on wondering how high-end violence on a child can exist in our society.

So when you leave your children with someone, can you please ask yourself, will they love and care for them like you do?

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