May 18, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Father tells of baby in child abuse death case

3 min read
Jarius Reti

(Source | Marty Sharpe)

Matene Te Aho stands at about 1.8 metres, is covered in tattoos and weighs more than 125kg.

Get him talking about his dead five-month-old son though, and his compassion and loss is palpable.

Mikara Ranui Jarius Reti died shortly after family members on his maternal side took him from Flaxmere to Hawke’s Bay Hospital last Tuesday.

Children’s advocates say New Zealand is right to feel a “sense of shame” over rates of child abuse, after the latest death.

Police have arrested and charged a 21-year-old Hastings man with manslaughter.

The man appeared in Hastings District Court on Saturday and was remanded in custody. He has interim name suppression and is due to reappear today.

Mr Te Aho said he had been told his son suffered blunt force trauma to his liver, which caused internal bleeding, leading to his death. He also had fractured ribs.

“It’s pretty hard to hear that. I’m just so sorry my son’s last moments in life were painful. I don’t know why anyone would want to hurt him so much.”

The dead boy known as Jarius after Jarius Wharerau from Whangarei, a champion in the motorsport drifting was Mr Te Aho’s only child.

Mr Te Aho said he had little to do with the boy’s mother, Jamie Te Whare, who had another son aged about two and was pregnant.

“When I looked in his eyes the first time, I’d never felt the love like that before … but he’s gone now. All we can do is remember him for what he was. He was the best man I ever knew, that fella.”

Mr Te Aho said he had considered taking fulltime care of his son, but believed it was best he live with his mother.

“I loved my mum and I didn’t want to take that away from my son. He would have loved his mother as much as I loved mine.”

Mr Te Aho said his boy was quite small when born but filled out in his five months of life, and would probably have grown to be as big as his 125kg dad.

He knew some relatives of the man accused of the killing. “I don’t feel sorry for him at all, but I do feel sorry for his family and what he’s putting them through.”

A tangi was held at Mangapeehi Marae at Benneydale during the weekend.

Children’s Commissioner John Angus said New Zealanders were right to feel “a sense of shame” over the country’s child abuse record. More onus should be placed on the health system to identify vulnerable children. It was “very likely” that someone within the health sector was aware this child was at risk, he said.

Families Commissioner Kim Workman said that though attitudes towards abuse were changing, child abuse was “far more widespread” than acknowledged.

“We do have serious problems out there.”

Child, Youth and Family operations manager Marama Wiki said the agency had not had any contact with the family before the baby’s death.

5 thoughts on “Father tells of baby in child abuse death case

  1. CHOICE!! its so reassuring to see that the new generation of parents are brave enough to look beyond the race debate – dont get me wrong there is indeed a lot of hurt and hara for Maori beyond colonization but you know we have been fighting for tinorangatiratanga – for our right to BE for a very long time and today we have more rights than our people ever did in the past. So for me that means we have the RIGHT first and foremost to be RESPONSIBLE for ourselves – that means YOU hurt the baby YOU are responsible – if YOU see SOME-ONE hurt the baby YOU are responsible – if we dont start to take RESPONSIBILITY now the hurt will continue on into the next generation and the next…responsibility begins with YOU ME US & WE!

  2. I agree with you Nikki,we can not keep blaming Government or colonization,we have to look at the person,who took this childs life,so many sit and say nothing.Look at all the past cases of child abuse.The tight 12 was one case,still no answers.And our children are dying.Im Maori and proud,I nurtured my son to be the man he is today,Im meant to be colonized.The parents nurture them, and it takes a Whanau to help rise them.

  3. If there is anyone to blame for the abuse Maori are doing to our tamariki, it is this baldhead govt. Go back to the era when WW11 finished. When tangata whenua became urban Maori. Told to leave their roots, te hau kainga assimilate, become a brown pakeha, leave your history, whakapapa etc and bury your identity in your urupa. Mai tera, ko timata te mahi tukino. If you look back at those whanau abusing their whanau, they have no support systems in place to help them cope nor mental capacity to do so. Thats what our pakeke and koroua mahi was to awhi our young parents. Hoki atu ki tou ake hau kainga/maunga ranei

    na Irihapeti tenei

    1. You are correct Irihapeti in your opinion, I believe this may be one of many reasons to the decimation of whanau beliefs & values, research & whanau korero clearly identify this. However what about those urban Maori whom have no record of child abuse within (surprisingly there are some). Those whanau whom have moved forward and reclaimed thier mana, yet are continually implicated in these horrible acts because they are Maori. I suggest like them that whanau stop looking for someone/thing to blame therefore placing a protective korowai around those who perpetrates abusive acts on another. I am not for one minute suggesting we forget our history post colonisation, but what about those tipuna such as Sir Apirana Ngata, Sir Peter Buck, Dame Whina Cooper etc, what about them and what they acheived for us as a people. I believe the deceison to violate another human being because of baldheads? riri, hoha, haurangi, porangi, wairangi or what ever lies with the perpetrator and them alone, wake up and move forward Maori.

      Sophie Campbell

    2. I have to disagree. If anyone is to blame it is the buggar who did it and anyone who watched and didn’t do a damn thing about it.

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