Coroner criticises halfway house after murder

By Hayden Donnell

A Wellington halfway house where a man was brutally murdered was understaffed and unable to cope with the needs of its residents, a coroner has found.

Wiremu Pokai Haare, 45, was jailed for life for killing Kelly Noema by stabbing him 30 times with large kitchen knives at about 5:30am in August 2009.

When he was told Mr Noema had died, Haare said "good riddance".

He said Mr Noema was an "annoying bluebag nuisance" who had been "making a nuisance of himself" by sniffing glue and disturbing other boarding house residents.

In sentencing, a judge said Haare was known to lose his ability to control himself and descend into a rage when his daily routine was interrupted.

In findings released this morning, Coroner Ian Roderick Smith said Te Menenga Pai Charitable Trust, which ran the home, did not have enough staff at the time of the murder.

It had 2.7 full time equivalent positions to manage the residents, many of whom struggled with mental health issues and had been recently released from prison, the report said.

Coroner Smith said the situation highlighted the need for health authorities to regularly audit and assess contractor agencies such as the trust.

He noted the home had increased its staff numbers to six people for 15 residents since the killing.

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