Police have thanked the Kaitaia community for their support into an investigation that has seen a man jailed for the manslaughter of his 4-week-old baby daughter Maree Kiwana-Makanihi Takuira-Mita Ngahere.
On Friday Jahcey Te Koha Aroha o te Raki Ngahere, 23, was jailed for four years and five months in the High Court at Whangarei after earlier pleading guilty to Maree's manslaughter.
Sentencing Judge Justice Grant Powell said we will never know exactly what Ngahere did to Maree on February 19 last year - Ngahere claims to have blacked out and cannot fully remember - but it was clear that the fatal injuries were not just caused by shaking her, as he claimed.
Ngahere pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Maree at their Kaitaia home on February 19 last year and appeared for sentencing before Justice Powell. Ngahere had initially been charged with murder but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge.
He also pleaded guilty to an unrelated charge of assaulting a child - his 1-year-old stepson in January 2019 - and one of threatening to kill neighbours in March last year.
Detective Inspector Lloyd Schmid oversaw Operation Nycteus which investigated the death of Maree and said police acknowledge the sentencing of Ngahere.
"The death of any person is a tragic event, but when it is an infant as young as 4-weeks-old it is simply senseless," Schmid said.
"Maree suffered traumatic injuries before her death. Her passing greatly impacted the people of Kaitaia and I would like to acknowledge the community for their support in our investigation."
Schmid said the community, like police, have no tolerance for harm inflicted on our tamariki.
"Finally, I would like to acknowledge the Operation Nycteus team who worked diligently to bring justice for Maree,'' he said.
"Many of the staff on this investigation team have children of their own and I recognise their professionalism in bringing this matter to the court."
At the start of Friday's sentencing an emotional harm statement was read on behalf of Maree's mother Kirishia Kitiseni and her whānau that outlined the deep grief felt over the baby's tragic death.
She said she would never get over the hurt and anxiety from Maree's death, but was consoled somewhat by the knowledge that her daughter was now being looked after by her two late brothers.
Kitiseni said the tragic death of her baby and associated pain was something she would have to live with every day.