Personal items belonging to Barbara Moka go missing

By Peter de Graaf


Mystery has deepened over the death of Northland woman Barbara Moka after it was revealed her clothes, wallet and cellphone have vanished from her home.

It is thought her property was taken from her Rawene home in the days after she was killed at Omanaia in rural Hokianga.

Police upgraded their investigation to a homicide inquiry after a body thought to be Ms Moka's was found on Wednesday near Te Piiti Marae where she was last seen on June 9.

Around the same time a man appeared in the Kaikohe District Court in relation to the inquiry, but all details have been suppressed until next week.

A post-mortem examination was held in Auckland yesterday, after which police hoped to return Ms Moka's body to her grieving family.

She is likely to be taken to the same marae, Te Piiti, where she spent her final hours attending a tangi.

Police held a press conference in Kaikohe yesterday in which they appealed for help in finding Ms Moka's missing property. That included an old-style grey-and-black Nokia cellphone, a wallet and much of her clothing. As Ms Moka stood just 1.5m (5 feet) tall and weighed 45kg, most was size 8 or smaller.

Police also want to hear from anyone who saw two vehicles on Sunday June 9 and Monday June 10. They are a red 1997 two-door Toyota Cynos saloon, registration CBH261, and a green-and-grey 1990 Nissan Terrano, TF2603.

It is understood the vehicles may have been used to remove Ms Moka's property.

They were not stolen and police stress their usual occupants are not suspects in the inquiry.

Ms Moka's body was found in bush about 800m up a metal farm road between the marae and the scene of a minor crash involving Ms Moka's car about 1am on June 9.

Inquiry head Detective Senior Sergeant Rhys Johnston said it had not been located in last week's search as it was just outside the search area.

Police were making every effort to return Ms Moka's body to her family as soon as possible, Mr Johnston said.

"The news wasn't unexpected but they are very upset, as you would expect."

The whanau had asked for privacy while they grieved and held her tangi.

Marae elders have placed a rahui over the area where her body was found.

Forty police staff are continuing to work on the inquiry. Searches have also been conducted at several properties, including Rawene locations, as police try to locate the missing property.

Mr Johnston said the past few days of the inquiry had been long, "but it was very rewarding to be able to give something back for Barbara's family".

Police were grateful for the help they had received from the Omanaia community and those who had attended the tangi at Te Piiti Marae.

Call the Kaikohe police on (09) 405 2960 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111 with any information on the cars' movements or if you were at Te Piiti Marae on June 8-9 and have not yet spoken to police.

- Northern Advocate

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