A Whangārei man facing a charge in relation to the death of a 5-month-old baby boy has been remanded in custody.

The 28-year-old, from Raumanga, yesterday appeared before a Justice of the Peace in the Whangārei District Court where he was granted interim name suppression.

He is charged with assault on a child and was remanded back into custody. The charge carries a maximum penalty of two years in jail.

Police launched a homicide investigation after officers were called to a Raumanga house by ambulance staff about 8.30pm on Thursday. The baby died at the scene.


"Our investigation remains ongoing and we cannot rule out the possibility of further charges being laid," Detective Inspector Dene Begbie said.

The 28-year-old bearded man was dressed in a white prison boiler suit and kept his head bowed while he was in the dock for the brief appearance yesterday. There were no people in the back of the courtroom to support him at the time.

Duty solicitor Wiremu Puriri said no application for bail would be made and requested the man be granted interim name suppression as police investigations were ongoing.

It was the third death of a child in Northland within the past 12 months. Two were due to non-accidental injuries,.

In August last year, a 2-year-old died at a property in Mangawhai, resulting in a homicide investigation and charges being laid against a 30-year-old man.

A Kaitaia man was charged with the murder of 4-week-old Kaitaia baby Maree Takuira Mita Ngahere in February.

The man, 22, was granted interim name suppression when he appeared in the Kaitaia District Court.

The man also faced a charge of assault on a child in relation to a separate matter and is charged with assaulting a 1-year-old in Manurewa between December 1 and January 16.


On average, a child in New Zealand is killed every five weeks, putting the country high on list of world's worst offenders, according to 2016 report.

Sixty-one children died as a result of non-accidental injuries in New Zealand between 2006 and 2016.

The New Zealand Police Homicide Victims Report 2017, released late last year, showed 686 people were killed by homicide in New Zealand over that period, with children under the age of 5 making up 12 per cent.