A woman who stole money from her elderly mother will have to pay back more than $8000 and complete 120 hours of community work.

Haana Margaret Denny Hona, 55, appeared in the Rotorua District Court for sentencing today before Judge Tony Snell.

She was charged with theft by a person in a special relationship and sentenced to community work and reparations of $8301.62.

The offending started in May 2010 when Hona was appointed property and accounts manager for her mother who had advanced dementia. She was also working full-time and a mother of five.


She was required to apply to the Family Court to review that appointment by May 2013 but didn't.

In court today her duty lawyer Erin Reilly said Hona "accepts she did not maintain her responsibility as she should have in respect of her mother's estate".

Judge Snell said Hona set up an account under another name her mother used and had her superannuation transferred into that account.

In 2013 Hona needed to apply for a review in the family court but did not.

"The finances were solely to be used for her care, protection and management of her property.

"From July 2010 to June 2017 you spent the funds."

Hona's mother died on June 24, 2017.

The summary of facts states there were a number of transactions at the ATMs of gambling establishments but Hona explained she used the ATMs to withdraw money for her mother's benefit.


It said the full expenditure could not be properly verified.

Judge Snell said initially Hona was charged with taking about $130,000 but that had been reduced to the $8301.62 she was ordered to repay.

"The funds were mostly used for the benefit of the victim.

"This was a significant breach of trust but you put a lot of your own time and energy into the care and welfare of your mother."

Following the sentencing, Hona's sister Ngaire Hona-Khan told the Rotorua Daily Post her mother's six children all agreed Hona would take over the accounts because she had studied business.

"She was the ideal candidate to look after our mum's finances.

"We are totally mortified that's the conviction and the repayment.

"We're totally disgusted with the outcome."

Her other sister Madeleine Williams said Hona's siblings had "trusted her to look after Mum and this is what happened".