Abused and murdered 3-year-old Nia Glassie did not turn up at her kindergarten for two weeks after staff smelled urine and cannabis in her hair, but neither her mother nor authorities were alerted.

This evidence was presented yesterday to a coroner's inquest into the Rotorua toddler's death, at which a child advocate told of her regret that not one person had enough courage to speak out and save a defenceless little girl's life.

Attendance records show Nia was absent from kohanga reo for two weeks from July 13, 2007, before she was taken off the roll.

During that time Nia's caregivers, who looked after her while her mother worked long hours out of town, spun her on a clothesline, put her in a dryer, and inflicted fatal head injuries on her.

Nia died in Starship Children's Hospital, in Auckland, on August 3.

Rangianiwaniwa Pehikino, the administrator of the kohanga reo - which is under new management - told the inquest it was updating its policies on reporting absences and suspected abuse.

It would now "absolutely" notify any apparent abuse to Child, Youth and Family.

Only one staff member remains at the kohanga reo from the time Nia attended. He previously testified he smelled urine and cannabis on Nia.

Early Childhood Council chief executive Peter Reynolds said childhood centres had learned from Nia's case to work more closely with police and Child, Youth and Family and were more willing to take action over suspected abuse.

Starship paediatrician Patrick Kelly, who treated Nia before she died, renewed his call for health workers to take some responsibility for keeping children safe from abuse.

"Most infants and children diagnosed with serious abuse are not known to Child, Youth and Family ... [but] all children born in New Zealand are known to a health practitioner," Dr Kelly said in his submission to the coroner.

Former National Collective of Women's Refuges chief executive Merepeka Raukawa-Tait said people around Nia - particularly whanau and neighbours - had failed to take responsibility.

"Nia was not invisible," she said. "One person with courage could have been the circuit breaker for the abuse, a life saver.

"They thought only of themselves and not of the defenceless little girl."

Nia's mother, Lisa Kuka, had put her own needs ahead of her daughter's, she said.

Kuka was convicted of manslaughter for failing to protect and get medical help for Nia.

Her partner, Wiremu Curtis, and his brother, Michael Curtis, were convicted of murder.

The inquest concluded yesterday. Coroner Wallace Bain said it could be some time before he delivered his finding because of the large amount of material and the number of submissions he had to consider.