A mother of 10 is on trial accused of punching and slapping her children, as well as pushing one down the stairs.

One daughter also claimed her mother assaulted her because she forgot to check the oven and the chicken burned.

The 37-year-old pleaded guilty to four charges of assaulting a child before Judge Warren Cathcart in Napier District Court yesterday. She is defending another 14 charges.

The Crown alleges the woman punched and slapped her children and pushed her 10-year-old daughter down a flight of stairs.


The offending is alleged to have taken place throughout 2014, in Auckland, a Women's Refuge centre in Christchurch and at a home in Ashburton. The woman moved her children around the country, Crown prosecutor Fiona Cleary said. Some of her 10 children were living with her, while others stayed with grandparents or caregivers. Some of the children came forward with the allegations after staying with their mother during the holidays and seeing how she was treating their siblings.

The oldest child was 13 at the time while the youngest, twins, were just babies.

The woman's daughter, who is one of the complainants, said in evidence that her mother smacked her on the head for "narking" when she told her aunty about the assault.

A police DVD was played to the court of the teenager telling police about the first time she hit her. She said she was asked to check the chicken in the oven. On failing to do so, the chicken burned, which she was assaulted for.

She said her mother pushed her into the wash house and into the wall, "then she grabbed me by my hair and pulled me into her room" where a stereo speaker was thrown at her.

She said the assault lasted more than an hour.

"My arm was sore as, couldn't move it for three days."

She said her mother did not take her or her siblings to the doctor: "She's mean like that," she said.


The teen also told police she and her 10-year-old sister were changing the babies' nappies when their mother became angry because of their grizzling.

The teen said she and her sister were pushed from the top of a flight of stairs.

One of the twins was still in her sister's arms at the time and received a black eye when the baby knocked the corner of the staircase.

When questioned by defence counsel Nicola Graham, the teen backtracked on the DVD evidence and said she had made up some of the allegations because her nan had told her to.

She admitted that some of the assaults took place because she was "getting smart" and was swearing at her mother.

"We used to get smacks in the head every second day if we didn't look after her kids."

She also told Mrs Graham that her mother was a "good person" and she only really smacked them when they had done something wrong.

The teen insisted she was telling the truth about her sister being pushed down the stairs and the baby receiving a black eye.

The mother's 9-year-old son also appeared as a witness via CCTV and gave evidence about the alleged assaults yesterday.

He said he had not lived with his mother since he was 4 years old.

More of the woman's children are expected to appear as witnesses today.

The trial continues.