Ruth is the human interest reporter and a photographer for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Papamoa march against child abuse

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March for Moko, Papamoa. Photo/George Novak
March for Moko, Papamoa. Photo/George Novak

Two hundred Papamoa locals were among thousands who took part in marches against child abuse being held in at least six cities yesterday.

Dubbed "I will march for Moko", the events arose from an upwelling of public horror at the abuse and death of 3-year-old Moko Rangitoheriri.

His caregivers, David Haewera and Tania Shailer, pleaded guilty to his manslaughter.

Photo/File
Photo/File

Community Kindy Parton centre manager Haylee Dumbar said the kindy and local community wanted to show their support for the nation wide march, which was also being held in Tauranga CBDon Monday.

"We have a lot of families coming through our centre who are not happy at the level of domestic and child abuse in our country."

Mrs Dumbar was stoked about 200 people turned up to the march which was also used to raise money for Shine - New Zealand's largest domestic abuse charity.

"We were not expected that at all, it has just escalated through the centre and the local community through the media, social media and word of mouth. Child abuse in New Zealand is not acceptable and it needs to stop."

Mrs Dumbar said it was heartbreaking what some children had to endure and Moko's story was just one of many throughout the country.

The 30-minute march finished at Papamoa kindy.

The marches were promoted after a group of mothers from around the country, who didn't previously know one another, took up the challenge of broadcaster Duncan Garner's article "Who will march for Moko?", and decided to create a forum for change.

March for Moko, Papamoa. Photo/George Novak
March for Moko, Papamoa. Photo/George Novak

Branding themselves ASK - Angels Saving Kids - they urged people to "ask" if they had concerns for a family or child, and that people who needed help to ask for it.

The organisers say the marches were intended to honour Moko and all other children who have suffered abuse in New Zealand.

"It is an opportunity to gather as a united front, to raise awareness and invoke change by taking a national responsibility to protect children."

Helpline
If you are in immediate danger, call 111 and ask for the police.
You can call Shine's domestic abuse Helpline between 9am and 11pm, 7 days a week, on:
0508-744-633
Shine's Helpline is free to call from any phone in New Zealand.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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