The mother of a tortured girl allegedly told authorities she was at a tangi "down south" in order to avoid anyone seeing the extensive injuries across her daughter's body.
The Herald understands the mother was meant to take her daughter for a medical appointment but cancelled it saying she was taking the family to a tangi.
Instead, it is alleged the 30-year-old West Auckland woman inflicted a range of horrific abuse and torture on her terrified daughter - causing injuries so bad that those now involved with the case, including experienced child abuse investigators, say they have been deeply affected.
Those injuries range from her scalp being torn away from her head while she was dragged by her hair along the floor, to vicious beatings with various weapons, and having her toenail pulled off and salt and boiling water poured on to the bleeding wound.
The mother is also believed to have told the girl's school a similar lie about going to a tangi to avoid questions about what had happened to her daughter.
The girl's parents have both been charged over her injuries which allegedly occurred over a two-year period. She was returned to her parents' care after being removed from them as a baby.
Her father, unemployed and aged 32, is charged with assaulting her between January 2009 and November this year. He also faces charges of using a broomstick and a vacuum pipe to assault her during eight days in November.
Her unemployed mother faces 32 charges including injuring with intent, assault with various weapons, wilful neglect by failing to seek medical help, withholding food, and causing grievous bodily harm.
She also faces two charges of assaulting another child, aged 7, with a table leg and an unknown weapon.
The girl's injuries were discovered when police were called to her house in November because of a domestic dispute. She was found hiding in a wardrobe with such extensive injuries the Herald understands very little of her body wasn't covered in bruising.
The case has shocked and horrified members of the public. After featuring in the story in the Weekend Herald, the paper received more than 50 emails from concerned readers, many of whom wanted to know what they could do to help the little girl who is now being looked after by caregivers. Her siblings are also in safe care.
Concerns have also been raised about Child, Youth and Family's role with many questioning how the abuse went on for so long without anyone noticing, despite case workers being told this year there were concerns for the girl's wellbeing.
Northern regional director Grant Bennett confirmed CYF had been working with others to support the family and "help them get to the point where they could provide a loving, safe home for their children".
When asked specifically whether CYF had been notified about possible abuse this year, Mr Bennett said that could be better answered once the case before the courts was finished.
The parents have interim name suppression and were bailed to reappear in the Waitakere District Court on Wednesday.