Protests planned nationwide for Moko


Thousands of people across the country are preparing to protest tomorrow over the death of three-year-old Moko Rangitoheriri, and his killers' conviction for manslaughter instead of murder.

A march has been planned in Brisbane along with 36 outside courthouses in New Zealand from as far north as Kaikohe, to as far south as Stewart Island. 

Two-thousand people are expected to March through the city centre in Rotorua, and will then gather outside Rotorua's High Court where Moko's killers, Tania Shailer and David Haerewa, are being sentenced.

Jeanine Perkinson spent today putting the final touches on her protest placards ahead of tomorrow's rally at the High Court in Auckland. She says the messages on these signs couldn't be clearer.

"Child abuse is not okay, it's not tolerated in New Zealand. The plea bargaining going on around the country is not okay," she says.

That so-called plea bargaining is what has many protesters riled up. Shailer and Haerewa kicked, slapped, stomped and bit the three-year-old. The duo were originally charged with murder, but then pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

"Those within the justice system probably realise they've made a really big mistake with this decision on plea bargaining; the reaction from the country has been swift and loud," Jock Jamieson, of the Sensible Sentencing Trust, says.

Up to 2000 people are expected to turn out in central Auckland, where protesters will link hands around the High Court.

"We hurt for Moko; we hurt for Nia Glassie; we hurt for all the other babies that have fallen," Ms Perkinson says.

"We hurt for every single one of them, and that's who I stand for. Every single step I take tomorrow I will take for every one of those children."

In New Plymouth 47 crosses were being painted today. They say it's one for every child killed in the past decade, whose offender was charged with manslaughter not murder.

"We'd like to see as many people involved to attend their rallies in their local town and stand up against child abuse," Jazinda Komene says.

Thousands rallied across the country last month in response to Moko's death.

Organisers expect tomorrow to be even bigger, and hope the action will be a catalyst for change.