Anguish as child abuse continues despite March for Moko

Four years on since the March for Moko and protestors say there's been no improvement in our child abuse figures in New Zealand.

Moko Rangitoheriri died in 2015 from injuries caused by abuse.

Now, there are fresh calls for change and for Oranga Tamariki to meet families half-way.

On Sunday activists marched through the streets of Lower Hutt with children in tow, calling for an end to child abuse and paying tribute to kids who have lost their lives. 

One of them was Moko Rangitoheriri, the three-year-old who died after injuries inflicted by his carers in 2015.

Tash Lajpold was one of the 2016 organisers of the nation-wide protests in the wake of his death.

"Nothing's changed obviously," she says.

The number of children physically abused alone remained above 3000 in 2016 and 2017. There was a slight dip in 2018 - but only slightly.

And last year the number of children physically abused rose back up to more than 3500.

Even today's youngest speakers have had enough.

"It's stupid about the parents not looking after the kids," one child said.

There are also calls for child protection agency, Oranga Tamariki, to better support families once it's removed a child.

"Children are being taken and put into homes but there's no support for the parents," Lajpold said.

It's a lack of support grandmother Rawena Wiki says she knows all too well.

She says she fought to take her grandchildren into her care when Oranga Tamariki attempted to uplift them from her daughter. But after that Wiki says there was little support.

"After all of this your guys' job is to uplift and place and you walk away [saying] 'high-five team we've done our job'. And there's this whanau left here with no tools, no resources, no support," she says.

Oranga Tamariki says it strives to work alongside families and urges anyone who feels they didn't receive the support they need to get in touch.

For Wiki the solution's straight-forward.

"Whanau meeting halfway, OT [Oranga Tamariki] meeting halfway."

Meeting in the middle to keep our little ones safe.