A mother is calling for school holiday programmes to do a roll call before they head off on adventures after her 5-year-old son was left behind at a public pool.

Stephanie Pita's son, Shane, went to Parakai Springs with Te Whanau o Waipareira as part of a holiday programme.

But as the rest of the children ran back on the bus to head home, Shane wanted another go on the bouncy castle.

Oblivious to him missing, the bus took off, leaving Shane stranded.


Pita said no one noticed her son was missing until her mother-in-law went to pick him up and couldn't find him.

"[Shane] told me he saw the bus leaving and yelled for it, but no one saw him.

"He was quite horrified by then. I can't imagine how he would have felt, but he would have been so scared."

Parakai Springs manager Dion Tilson confirmed a member of the public alerted staff to Shane wandering around the carpark unsupervised.

Management contacted the holiday programme to let them know he had been left behind and staff looked after him until he was picked up about half an hour later.

"My son is only 5 years old. He told me that he was getting changed but he wanted to go back to the bouncy castle, so he went back there but there weren't any adults that saw him.

"When he was playing on the bouncy castle, that is when he saw the bus leaving and tried to run to it, then someone on site saw him.

"We had to register him, and I don't see the point in registering him if they don't even do a roll check."


She said the holiday programme organisers had apologised to her but she let them know that she was going to take it further.

When contacted by the Herald, a spokesman for Te Whanau O Waipareira said they wouldn't be commenting.

"They really scared us. No one should have to go through that. The fact that we have to reach out with a complaint before they apologised to us makes me feel like they didn't care," Pita said.

"My baby is only five. They should have enough parents or supervisors there to watch the number of kids that they have."

Pita said she couldn't be with her son in Auckland at the moment as she was at the bedside of her father who is being treated for cancer in Wellington.

"To be honest I trusted them with my son and thought he was going to be safe, so for them to let me down like that is really sad. They let me down by leaving my baby behind."

She has organised a meeting with the West Auckland Maori community trust tomorrow, and wants to make sure this never happens again.

"If they don't have a procedure to follow then how will they stop it from happening."

She knew her son shouldn't have ran back to the bouncy castle but he was just being a child.

"What kid doesn't want to do that? It wasn't his fault he got left behind, checks should have been done before they left. I don't think I am going to want to take him to another holiday programme again."

She said mistakes can happen but it could have been prevented with a simple roll call.

"Being a mother and being far away, it is the worst thing knowing your child is missing and there is nothing you can do."