He was the baby found wrapped in muddy clothes at a South Auckland park, with no name and no one to claim him as their own.

What he did have, however, was a community who loved him - and one that is determined to give a little boy a proper farewell, in a bid to give a tragic situation a dignified ending.

On November 24, last year, a man walking his dog discovered the body of an infant at a reserve near Mona Ave, in Mangere.

Despite a police investigation and pleas for the mother of the child to come forward, the baby's family was never found and the case was referred to the coroner.


Almost a year later, members of the local community have taken it upon themselves to give the child a proper burial service.

Mangere MP Aupito William Sio said police would be releasing the boy's body within the next week, ready for preparations for an official funeral service late next week.

"On behalf of the community, we wanted to take the opportunity up. I'm speaking on behalf of the people in the community - we've accepted responsibility that this is our child," he said.

"I think a lot of love and compassion was poured out for the baby when this happened and that love and compassion still exists."

A graveside public ceremony will be held at the Mangere Lawn Cemetery, likely on September 30.

Quotes for the costs of a small casket, a burial plot and other associated costs are being sought and it is hoped local businesses may offer to help.

Prayers will be said, hymns sung and a special item will be performed by a local youth group.

Police remove the body of a baby found in a reserve in Mangere last year. Photo / Dean Purcell
Police remove the body of a baby found in a reserve in Mangere last year. Photo / Dean Purcell

It is a service that the community called for immediately after the child's body was discovered and something that was very much wanted, Sio said.

"It's also, to me, just to bring it to a closure and just removing the bad omen that surrounds the park."

A coroner's finding showed that the baby was probably stillborn in the late third trimester and that the antecedent cause had been a concealed pregnancy and birth.

Coroner Debra Bell said in her findings: "I have considered all available information and I am satisfied that this person has died as a result of natural causes.

"I am satisfied that there are no circumstances relating to this death that make an inquiry necessary or desirable.''

A post-mortem examination found the child was either of Pacific Island or Maori descent and had likely been at the reserve for less than 48 hours.

Among the clothes he was found in was a singlet with the words: "Samoan Culture - our Pride and Joy.''

Sio said it was not yet known whether a headstone would be made, given the child did not officially have a name.

"The community has been referring to him as Baby Mona. But the reality is, we don't have a name for this child."

Sio acknowledged there had been similar cases of abandonment involving Pacific Island mothers in New Zealand. Many of those cases dealt with issues surrounding a young woman's fear or shame of having a child out of wedlock.

"Our Pacific community has to acknowledge that there's a huge issue here. Women who through fear and other circumstances, have not received the support they need when they are pregnant.

"We hope to God that the mother gets some help and hope to God that our daughters feel like they can get help."

• For those wanting to help: Contact Mangere MP Aupito William Sio's office on (09) 275 5345.