Thousands march for Moko around New Zealand

(Thomas Mead)
(Thomas Mead)

Marches took place this afternoon around New Zealand in a bid for more to be done to fight child abuse, following the death of Taupo toddler Moko Rangitoheriri.

Thousands march for Moko around New Zealand

Crowds gather in Auckland's Aotea Square (Harley Peters)

Organisers of "I Will March for Moko" events in Auckland, Hamilton, Lower Hutt, Christchurch, Nelson and Oamaru are appalled at the story of three-year-old Moko, who died of injuries inflicted while he was in the care of a Taupo couple in August 2015.

Last Monday Tania Shailer and David Haerewa pleaded guilty to his manslaughter, after their charge was reduced from murder.

The case comes several years after the horrific death of three-year-old Nia Glassie, prompting child advocates to ask if lessons relating to child abuse have been learnt.

Thousands march for Moko around New Zealand

Large crowds have turned out in Christchurch (Thomas Mead)

People have gathered at Auckland's Aotea Square today to hear guest speakers before marching down Queen St.

Marching in Auckland, Sandra Wharepapa says she's marching to get awareness out that child abuse needs to stop.

"Our babies are precious. I've got two little grandsons that are the same age as Moko when he was killed, and it's just got to stop.

"The Government needs to step in and start providing help to these families that aren't coping," she says.

"A lot of it's financial problems, homelessness… These families need help and the Government needs to step up.

"A lot of it is hidden and families need to step in and check on each other, look after each other."

Thousands march for Moko around New Zealand

Labour MP Jacinda Ardern addresses the crowd gathered in Aotea Square (Ollie Ritchie)

In a statement released on Thursday, Coroner Wallace Bain said based on the information he had, a large number of questions needed addressing.

The questions included the suitability of those who cared for Moko in the two months before his death, what checks were made on them, and on Moko's safety and well-being while in their care.

Thousands march for Moko around New Zealand

Newshub. / NZN