Parents of kidnapped baby Kahu angry over TV drama

By Andrew Koubaridis

Miriama Smith in 'Stolen: The Baby Kahu Story'. Photo / Supplied
Miriama Smith in 'Stolen: The Baby Kahu Story'. Photo / Supplied

The parents of a girl abducted at gun-point and held for ransom as a baby are angry they could not stop a TV drama being made about the ordeal, and are worried about the effect it will have on her.

Stolen: The Baby Kahu Story, the dramatisation of the 2002 kidnapping of 8-month-old Kahurautete (Kahu) Durie, was shown last night on TV3.

Kahu is the adopted daughter of High Court judge Justice Sir Eddie Durie and lawyer Donna Hall.

Ms Hall was pushing Kahu in her pram in a quiet Lower Hutt street when Terence Ward Traynor pointed a gun at her and snatched the baby. Police rescued her unharmed from a Taumarunui house eight days later.

Traynor sought a $3 million ransom for Kahu's return.

He pleaded guilty to five charges relating to the kidnapping and was jailed for 11 years.

In an email to friends and family before last night's screening, Sir Eddie said it was the family's "earnest desire" to put the kidnapping and ransom behind them and not expose Kahu to publicity that could not benefit her.

Sir Eddie said the family learned about the drama only through a chance conversation Ms Hall had with a member of the Film Commission.

"Our advice was that the film could not be stopped on legal grounds of privacy because the subject is a matter of public interest," he said.

"However, we consider there are ethical issues relating to the prospective impact on an 8-year-old child and the impact on one of the birth family who suffered a mental breakdown following on from the kidnapping and whose health remains delicate."

In the email, he told how he and Ms Hall flew to Auckland to meet the documentary maker, South Pacific Pictures, to protest but filming was to begin the following week.

Ms Hall yesterday referred questions to her older sister, Dr Marian Mare, who said the film was not a true account. She declined to say what aspects were inaccurate.

Sir Eddie told supporters South Pacific Pictures changed parts of the script after they negotiated amendments.

South Pacific Pictures said suggestions that Stolen was produced without discussion with Kahu's family were incorrect.

The company said last night the script was made available to the family, and their suggestions and requests for amendments were heeded.

WHAT HAPPENED

* Baby Kahu was kidnapped in Lower Hutt in 2002.
* She was rescued unharmed after eight days in Taumarunui.
* Kidnapper Terence Ward Traynor sought a $3 million ransom.
* Traynor admitted five charges, and was jailed for 11 years.

- NZ Herald

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