Just over 18 years ago, an 8-month-old baby girl was snatched from her mother by a gun-wielding man on the sleepy streets of Lower Hutt.

For more than a week New Zealanders were gripped by the case as police frantically searched for the little girl and her terrified family waited for news.

We had seen nothing like it - and to date, the case of Baby Kahu remains, thankfully, one of a kind.

In episode six of Herald podcast A Moment in Crime, we look back at the ordeal and hear from the girl at the centre of a bizarre plot.

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LISTEN HERE TO KIDNAPPED: THE BIZARRE ABDUCTION OF BABY KAHU

Kahu was the adopted daughter of Wellington lawyer Donna Hall and her husband, High Court judge Justice Eddie Durie.

In April 2002, Hall left their Lower Hutt home with the baby in the pram, her two young nieces and the family dog.

They were going for a walk and had no idea that they were being followed by a man who had been planning for months to kidnap little Kahu.

He confronted them with a sawn-off shotgun, threatening to kill them all and ordering Hall to get rid of the dog at a nearby property.

The house in Taumaranui where baby Kahu was held. Photo / NZ Police
The house in Taumaranui where baby Kahu was held. Photo / NZ Police

As she did he grabbed Kahu, fled to his waiting car and sped off.

It would later emerge that the man - convicted criminal Terence Ward Traynor - spent four years planning to kidnap a high profile and wealthy New Zealander and hold them for ransom.

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He'd initially settled on Hall after seeing her name on a list of rich Kiwis published by a Sunday newspaper.

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But after spying on her for months he decided it would be much easier to take the baby girl.

After Traynor left Lower Hutt he made his way to a home he had purchased in Taumarunui in early 2002.

The property had been chosen specifically for the kidnapping and he'd carried out alternations inside to prevent his eventual victim escaping or being heard by neighbours.

The day after the kidnapping he sent a ransom note demanding $3 million for Kahu's safe return to her parents.

The ransom note Terence Traynor sent Kahu's parents. Photo / Mark Mitchell
The ransom note Terence Traynor sent Kahu's parents. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Police managed to identify Traynor and more than a week after the baby was taken they surround the house in Taumarunui - while he was out - and swooped.

They rescued baby Kahu and when her abductor returned they arrested him.

Traynor was charged and pleaded guilty early in the piece.

He was sentenced to 11 years in prison.

He has never spoken publicly about his crime but last year the Herald on Sunday interviewed his brother.

And, for the first time, Kahu - now 18 - spoke about what happened to her as a baby and her life since the kidnapping.

READ THE INTERVIEW WITH KAHU HERE

Kahu's kidnapping and the details that emerged about Traynor's plot after his arrest were fascinating and shocking.

The photos of his makeshift prison, the ransom note and the lengths he went to take a stranger's baby in a bid to get his hands on money were astounding.

The crazy crime and the aftermath are all covered off in full - along with never-before-heard audio from the kidnapper's brother, in the latest episode of A Moment In Crime.

Baby Kahu with her parents after police rescued her. Photo / NZ Herald
Baby Kahu with her parents after police rescued her. Photo / NZ Herald

Episode six is available on the Herald website today - and from next week, you can listen on iHeartRadio, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify.

A Moment In Crime is written and hosted by Anna Leask, senior crime reporter for the Herald. The podcast is produced by Chris Tarpey. Frances Cook is the executive producer.

Leask has been covering crime and justice for the Herald for more than a decade and has reported on most of the major incidents and events over that time.

"Each month I'll take you inside some of our most infamous incidents, notorious offenders and behind the scenes of high profile trials and events to show you what's really happening in your backyard," she said.

"Heroes and villains battle for justice to be done, and it seems no matter how horrifying the story, we always want to know more.

"If you want to know more about the cases that have shocked and shaped our nation - from murders and massacres to violent villains and the utterly unbelievable - join me for A Moment In Crime."

Police interviewing Traynor after his arrest for the kidnapping of baby Kahu. Photo / NZ Police
Police interviewing Traynor after his arrest for the kidnapping of baby Kahu. Photo / NZ Police

In our first episode, we looked back at the Christchurch terror attack - what unfolded on March 15 and how it changed New Zealand.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO EPISODE 1 OF A MOMENT IN CRIME

The podcast has also delved into the death of West Auckland toddler Aisling Symes, the cold case murder of Kayo Matsuzawa and double killer Jason Somerville, infamous for the Christchurch House of Horrors.

In 2017, Leask wrote and hosted Chasing Ghosts - a six-part podcast series on the Amber-Lee Cruickshank case.

Kahu Piripi is now 18 and has no memory of being kidnapped as a baby. Photo / NZ Herald
Kahu Piripi is now 18 and has no memory of being kidnapped as a baby. Photo / NZ Herald

The South Island toddler disappeared almost 27 years ago from a small town on the shore of Lake Wakatipu.

READ MORE AND LISTEN TO CHASING GHOSTS HERE

Despite exhaustive and repeated searches, there has never been any sign of the little girl.

To mark the 25th anniversary of Amber-Lee's disappearance, Leask investigated the famous cold case in a bid to generate some answers for the toddler's family.

It was the Herald's first true-crime podcast.

To subscribe to A Moment In Crime visit iHeartRadio, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify.

We want to hear from you

If there's a case you want us to consider covering, email anna.leask@nzme.co.nz or visit Anna Leask - Journalist on Facebook.