A song inspired by the brutal death of toddler Moko Rangitoheriri will be launched this week in a bid to raise much-needed funds for a national domestic abuse charity in the lead up to the busy Christmas period.
Another Little One was penned by Kiwi singer Tina Cross who - like most of New Zealand - was horrified and saddened over the death of Moko in 2015.
The 3-year-old died on August 10 that year from injuries he received during prolonged abuse and torture at the hands of his caregivers.
When Moko was taken to hospital - after being left injured and suffering for hours - his eyes were so swollen that the nurse could not lift the lids to check his pupils and his little body was so cold that devices used for measuring body temperature would not take a reading.
He had bite marks on his face, his tummy was protruding unnaturally and he was covered head to toe in bruises and abrasions.
A post-mortem examination was carried out and established that the Tokoroa toddler died as a result of "multiple blunt force traumas".
Tania Shailer, 26, and David Haerewa, 44, were sentenced to 17 years in jail with a minimum non-parole period of nine years after pleading guilty to manslaughter.
They had been looking after Moko while his mother Nicola Dally-Paki was in Auckland looking after another of her children who had been admitted to Starship Hospital.
When Cross heard Moko's story in the news she felt devastated.
And, knowing that he was not the first child to die at the hands of an abusive adult, she felt she had to do something.
She sat down that night and penned Another Little One.
"I remember hearing the story and thinking 'oh my gosh'... that really just rocked me," Cross told the Herald.
"I'd written the song Walk Away [aimed at raising awareness around family violence] but this was just on another level; I mean, for God's sake, children should be sacred.
"Life should be a given for our children, that's the way I see it, but things like this happen.
"It is just so tragically sad and that is what inspired me to write it."
Cross said Another Little One was "very personal" to her and she was thrilled when Shine accepted her offer of the donation.
"I really feel it's got a powerful and poignant message and I hope it's going to make a huge impact and statement and people will really think hard about our young children who have been abused and who have died.
"Moko was the inspiration, I'm sad to say, but what fuelled the passion and fuelled me to write it was what is happening to our young children - and there are many.
"Another Little One is meant for people to feel, and to think about this issue.
"Our children are our most precious people, that's it - the end."
After recording the song in Sydney Cross decided to donate it to Shine.
New Zealand has the worst rate of family violence and child abuse in the developed world, and the number of incidents spike each year over Christmas and New Year.
Another Little One is the focus of Shine's annual Christmas campaign - which asks that no more children be lost to violence or suffer abuse - and Cross hopes to raise $48,000.
She has been performing the song alongside the Auckland police Nga Pirihimana O Tāmaki Makaurau Choir at private events but will sing it for the first time for Shine at the organisation's Christmas party on Thursday.
"I would like all New Zealanders to be reminded that all children should be safe and happy—always and especially at Christmas time," Cross said.
"I'd like more people to get involved and do the right thing when they know or suspect that family violence is happening or a child is being abused."
Moko's mother is supporting both the song and campaign but was not available for a interview.
Shine spokeswoman Holly Carrington said the campaign would raise funds and awareness to help thousands of families who face violence at home during the stressful Christmas period.
"We all know the power of song and music to touch our hearts and make us want to take action to do better and be better – as people and as communities," Carrington said.
"Tina has written an amazing song and we are incredibly grateful for her gift and for her support.
"My song serves as a tribute to those children lost and serves as a reminder to all of us that life is supposed to be a given, especially for children who are reliant on adults for everything. The message is poignant, and, ultimately, one of hope."
Support Shine this Christmas
Every 5-and-a-half weeks a child dies in New Zealand as a result of violence in the home.
Tina Cross penned the song Another Little One and donated it to national domestic violence charity Shine to help them raise much-needed funds.
Over the Christmas and New Year period family violence spikes across the country.
Cross hopes to raise $48,000 though the sale of her song to support more children living in violent homes through Shine's KIDshine programme.
Another Little One will be available for purchase on iTunes later this week.
All proceeds are being donated to Shine.
Shine is a leading specialist family violence charity, established in 1990.
The organisation provides a range of services to help adult and child victims of domestic violence to get safe and stay safe, and to motivate and support those who have been abusive towards partners and family members to change for the better.
Shine's toll-free, national Helpline is 0508-744-633, operating seven days a week, year-round. www.2shine.org.nz
For more information about Another Little One visit: www.2shine.org.nz/another-Little-One-tina-cross
Where to get help
If you're in danger now:
• Phone the police on 111 or ask neighbours of friends to ring for you.
• Run outside and head for where there are other people.
• Scream for help so that your neighbours can hear you.
• Take the children with you.
• Don't stop to get anything else.
• If you are being abused, remember it's not your fault. Violence is never okay
Where to go for help or more information:
• Shine, free national helpline 9am- 11pm every day - 0508 744 633 www.2shine.org.nz
• Women's Refuge: Free national crisis line operates 24/7 - 0800 refuge or 0800 733 843 www.womensrefuge.org.nz
• It's Not Ok: Information line 0800 456 450 www.areyouok.org.nz
• Shakti: Providing specialist cultural services for African, Asian and middle eastern women and their children. Crisis line 24/7 0800 742 584
• Ministry of Justice: www.justice.govt.nz/family-justice/domestic-violence
• National Network of Stopping Violence: www.nnsvs.org.nz
• White Ribbon: Aiming to eliminate men's violence towards women, focusing this year on sexual violence and the issue of consent. www.whiteribbon.org.nz
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