Warning: Graphic content
A horrified Auckland mum was left in tears when she arrived at her 4-year-old son's kindergarten to find his face covered in painful scratches and bruises.
Staff at Manurewa West Kindergarten said Masua Tusa - who has cerebral palsy and is permanently wheelchair-bound - had fallen down a set of stairs while in his wheelchair.
But while the incident happened at about 1.30pm, family say staff did not inform the youngster's family or seek medical treatment.
It was only when his family came to pick him up that they discovered his horrific injuries.
An aunt, Leika Tusa, had been waiting in the carpark and said Masua's mother was in tears as she walked out to the carpark with her son that day.
"We looked at his face and it was terrible," she said.
"It looked like someone had beaten him up or punched him in the face."
Masua's left eye was closed, his nose was still bleeding and the skin on his face raw and painful.
'HE WAS JUST STARING AT US, LIKE HE WAS LOST'
"Normally, he will be happy to see us," Tusa said.
"But he wasn't smiling at all, he was just staring at us, like he was lost."
The family immediately took their son to the doctor where he had X-rays. He was given the all-clear and they were told Masua had not suffered any major damage.
However, photos taken later that night showed Masua with his left eye still swollen shut and pus oozing from his open wounds.
When Masua's grandfather, Nonoa Tusa, came home from work at 7pm, he was furious.
"It was lucky the kindergarten was closed," he said.
"My wife was trying to cool me down. He's the only grandson we have."
Unable to sleep, Nonoa put up a post on Facebook outlining what had happened along with photos of Masua.
He said it was the second time his grandson had fallen in his wheelchair at the kindergarten, after he also got a scratch on his head in the last fall.
The kindergarten had promised to have someone supervise Masua at all times, so how could this happen, he asked.
The family reported the incident to police yesterday morning and they claimed they had been told it would be investigated.
The kindergarten had also called the family and asked them to come to a meeting with its manager today at 10am.
'WE ARE TAKING THE MATTER VERY SERIOUSLY'
A staff member, who asked not to be named, told the Herald this morning they were taking the matter "very seriously'' and had let the necessary people know about the situation.
"We're working with our head office and we're also working with the Ministry of Education, as well, to make sure that they know that we worked hard to try and do everything that we could for him.
"And that we were supervising him at the time."
The woman said they had tried to contact Masua's mother, but only had one contact number for her and had had no luck so far.
"At this stage, we haven't been able to get in touch with her."
Asked whether she was at the kindergarten when the incident happened, she said: "Unfortunately - I'm sorry - I'm not going to go into any of that because it's still being investigated by the Ministry of Education."
Leika Tusa feels the Manurewa West Kindergarten staff need to tell her more about the incident.
She said when Masua's mum went to pick him up inside the kindergarten, staff had left his wheelchair facing the wall.
She had to turn him around before she saw his face.
When they went back to the kindergarten yesterday to ask them again what had happened, the staff member seemed to "struggle" to tell her story and answer the questions put to her.
Masua himself cannot talk well enough to say what happened.
But Tusa said the only thing her nephew repeated every time they asked about the incident is "teacher, teacher".
Police confirmed this afternoon that they have visited the kindergarten and had spoken to staff.