WARNING: This article discusses child sexual assault
Years have passed since Manaia's daughter was taken into care and sexually assaulted, but the hurt, distrust and anxiety have remained.
"It's something that we live with every day that's never going to go away, I don't even know if my daughter is okay now because it has been pushed under the rug."
At the time the woman became suicidal and stopped fighting to find out what happened as it was "falling on deaf ears" in 2012, however she's been inspired to share what happened now because of the recent high profile abuse in care cases.
Her child's assault, she says, is on her mind every day.
Manaia, who can't be named for legal reasons, was in her mid-20s when she suffered abuse from her partner that caused her to lose her 3-year-old daughter in 2009.
Between countless beatings she pivoted between care homes, family and friends but would always return to him - leading Child, Youth and Family (CYFs) to take action and move her daughter in to the home of a relative.
This however, would place the young girl into the hands of a man who documents say went on to sexually abuse her.
And, it appears little had been done to investigate the case.
Since the Herald began investigating in December 2020, both police and Oranga Tamariki have been unable to confirm whether any action was taken against the man who Manaia believes sexually assaulted her daughter.
"It makes me feel sick and I just think about all the other children in care. And you know, how many cases are there?"
What Manaia does know is that a note on a CYFs report from November 2009 states that "an investigation was completed where it was agreed that [the child] was sexually abused".
After this, the document says that the case was closed and no further action was taken as there was an open intervention in late January 2010 and the child was moved into someone else's care.
Each weekend, Manaia would pick her daughter up for a few hours, a time where they could pretend things were still like they were living together.
But things weren't the same.
At one visit Manaia says she and her partner noticed their child was exhibiting overly sexual behaviour and had a red genital area.
"One thing was, that I used to get my nails done and we had her on the weekend and she said uncle [x] has long nails too mum. And that was another trigger for us, that's why we had to ask our daughter."
The couple ended up pulling her aside to ask if anyone was touching her and Manaia says the girl claimed her "uncle", who often visited the home but was not a blood relative, had touched her genital area.
Immediately, she says a hui was called and later a CYFs caseworker and psychiatrist met with the child alone.
Manaia told the Herald as soon as the worker stepped out of the meeting the caseworker said "she's named who's done it".
In a case report document provided to the Herald by Manaia, CYFs note that on November 1 2009, a report of concern about the child being sexually interfered with was made.
In another document, it is recorded that when spoken to by police Manaia was "extremely frustrated" at the lack of responses or updates on her daughter's situation.
"She expressed that her daughter has not had a medical examination to date and is upset at this as she has observed that her daughter still has redness to her genital area."
At just 3 years old, the CYFs report noted that the daughter was very vulnerable, however, the alleged perpetrator did not live there and was currently in prison.
"Therefore has no access to her," it read.
A different CYFs paper says the girl's father became extremely upset when she reported that she had seen the alleged offender's "diddy".
Feeling stressed and abandoned, Manaia says her partner took things into his own hands and paid the alleged offender a visit at his home.
He wasn't there, but official police documents from the time confirm the incident occurred.
"[The] father had been drinking on the 31/10/2009 and then decided to exact some sort of revenge on the alleged perpetrator's father, who had been defending his son on this matter."
Police were called to a "serious" home invasion as a result. Documents provided by Manaia from CYFs say the violence was serious, but no one died.
"The violence was retribution for the alleged sexual abuse; the mother has told police [the child] has a red bottom and sexualised play."
For years Manaia has wondered what happened to the man she believes assaulted her daughter, and despite raising the issue multiple times with CYFs, she has never found the answer.
"Nothing was being done, like look she's named this guy, you guys know where this guy is can you not bring him in for questioning."
Although Manaia says she would have liked to keep up the fight for justice, because her children were moved into permanent care and her mental health was suffering she felt like she had done what she could.
"It's not a nice feeling, I only hope she can come back one day when she's older and we'll be able to speak about it."
When contacted for comment by the Herald, Oranga Tamariki struggled to find documents regarding the incidents, and told the Herald it was "proving tricky - matching up what's alleged with the records in our system".
The agency then asked whether it would be possible for the Herald to share some "key documents", that the woman had applied for years before and received, to try work out what happened.
Manaia agreed, and some of the documents that she received copies of were sent back to the agency.
Despite sharing the paperwork, which should have already been in its possession, little explanation was provided by the organisation.
An Oranga Tamariki spokesperson said in a short statement that the recorded outcome was that the allegations were found to be substantiated.
"As we need to respect the right of privacy of the young person involved, we can't go into substantive details."
Up to 253,000 people are estimated to have been abused in care in New Zealand between 1950 and 2019, with the number of people passing through care judged to be six times higher than previously thought.
Ngā Maia Māori Midwives Aotearoa president Jean Te Huia told the Herald about seven to 10 per cent of children in care are abused on a daily basis.
"Those children are being abused sexually, mentally and physically. And while we persist in taking children away from the parents. We are continuing this intergenerational cycle of abuse."
She said Oranga Tamariki's (previously CYFs) whole record-keeping system enables them to hide the "insidious" lack of care for the children.
"I think it's despicable that Oranga Tamariki have not got the notes for this little girl who was sexually abused.
"They will never know, and that's the irony. And what will happen, is those parents will be tortured, knowing that they weren't there to save their little girl, and tortured, even more, knowing he wasn't brought to justice."
When the Herald contacted police, a spokesperson said their records indicated there was an "unrelated incident" in late 2009 where an allegation was made.
"Police made inquiries into this allegation and notified Oranga Tamariki. At the time it was also referred to appropriate services."
Neither Oranga Tamariki or police were able to confirm whether any action was taken against the man or whether a formal investigation was ever done.
While the child was removed from that family, Manaia has never moved on, and she's still waiting for answers.
"We know damn well that wouldn't have happened in our home."
SEXUAL HARM - DO YOU NEED HELP?
If it's an emergency and you feel that you or someone else is at risk, call 111.
If you've ever experienced sexual assault or abuse and need to talk to someone contact the Safe to Talk confidential crisis helpline on:
• Text 4334 and they will respond
• Email email@example.com
• Visit https://safetotalk.nz/contact-us/ for an online chat