Merekara Karaitiana-MatiahaHinewaoriki Rerenoa "Lillybing"
August 8, 1999 - July 23, 2001

The child known as "Lillybing" had been dead for five to seven hours when help arrived. Unfortunately, it was too late for her as with so many children. Rachealle Namana and her sister Rongomai Wahine Paewai were met at the door by Chery Daley-Nooroa, they had Hinewaoriki with them. The sisters claimed that the child had fallen and was having trouble walking and was hard to wake up. Cheryl thought she saw the child move and urged the sisters to take her to the hospital. Hinewaoriki was found to have massive facial burns, injuries to her vagina and to her abdomen as well as a fatal brain hemorrhage. The only movement Cheryl had actually witnessed was when one of the sister had been rubbing Hinewaoriki's back.

At least five months before Hinewaoriki had died, there had been a complaint made by Rachealle with a local
Maori Health Worker by the name of Carol Fox. Rachealle said that she was pregnant with her fifth child and had been frustrated to the point that she had been hitting Hinewaoriki. Rachealle said that her stepsister had been leaving the child with her for days at a time. Carol Fox had conversations with the family and it was decided that Hinewaoriki would NOT be left with Rachealle again. Carol stated that if she was, Child, Youth And Family Services would be brought into the picture.

Not long after that, Hinewaoriki's nine month old sister was admitted to the hospital. Once again, she was left
with Rachealle so that her mother could be at the hospital with her sister. Hinewaoriki had been taken to the
home of Rachealle without any diapers, so she took it upon herself to start potty training the child who was only 24 months old.

The time line is as follows:

Day 1- July 21 - Steps were made up the adult toilet and when she was unable to walk up the steps, Hinewaoriki was hit on her legs. She was then put on the seat and would cling on the seat she she would not fall off.

Day 2 - July 22 - The two sisters noticed that Hinewaoriki had a bloody vagina. Fearing they would be in trouble, they decided not to take her to a doctor. During the day, the child fell several times and on one of the falls she bumped her head and lost consciousness at least twice. The sisters were trained in first aid and decided that they would apply an ice back to the bump which they followed up with a wash cloth soaked in boiling hot water. After the cloth was applied, a burn began to form from below her eye to the top of her forehead. It is said that this would have caused severe pain and required skin grafting to repair, which also would have been painful. When her mother stopped by to pick her up, she was told the child was sleeping and that the two sisters would bring her home later. Hinewaoriki's condition worsened during the night.

Day 3 - July 23 - Hinewaoriki woke up the next morning and the bump had become dark and the burn on her face had worsened. Unable to stop falling over, she complained a lot. Rachealle soon became angry her complaining and shoot her to the point that she suffered a brain hemorrhage. Between the hours of 6: 00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. on July 23, Hinewaoriki died.

On May 18, 2001, in the High Court at Wellington, Rachealle plead guilty to the manslaughter of Hinewaoriki, the child who would become known as Lillybing. Both sisters also plead guilty to ill treatment of the child and failing to provide the necessities of life. SHOCKINGLY, once again, the case is that someone had killed a child and will NOT spend the rest of their life in prison. Rachaelle Namana was sentenced to only six years and her sister, Rongomai Wahine Paewai, was sentenced to only two. Evidence about the blood on Hinewaoriki's vagina was never talked about in court though Inspector Rod Drew, head of the investigation team, wants to know what happened and says the case will remain open.

Sadly, the only picture I could find of this little Angel was the small one at the top of the page and then one of her grave marker. It's sad that she meant so little in life that no one thought to take more pictures of her.

Lillybing counts - excuses don't

The cruel death of a baby girl comes before any excuses, background reasons or expressions of remorse, says a judge. SHENAGH GLEESON reports.On the morning of her trial, Rachealle Namana's lawyer gave Justice Eddie Durie a letter.

In it, Namana described her terror-ridden childhood, an attempt at suicide at the age of nine, the impossible demands of her extended family, her tireless work for her kohanga reo, and her remorse.

Justice Durie read it - and decided it didn't count for much. What counted was the inexcusable failure of Namana and her sister Rongomai Paewai to get medical help for their 23-month-old niece, Lillybing, dying from internal bleeding after a brutal vaginal assault.

What counted was the Carterton step-aunts' failure to get help for Lillybing as she staggered and fell repeatedly, the peritoneal bleeding sapping the life from her small body. What counted was their bizarre and cruel treatment of a lump on her head with a boiling hot cloth. Hinewaioriki Karaitiana-Matiaha, nicknamed Lillybing, finally died on July 23 last year from brain injury resulting from violent shaking by Namana. But because of her aunts' neglect she already had no chance of survival. 

For that Justice Durie imposed tough sentences in the High Court at Wellington yesterday. Rachealle Patricia Dawn Namana, 28, was sentenced to six years imprisonment and Rongomai Paewai, 27, to two years. Their sentences would have been longer - eight years for Namana and three years for Paewai - but were reduced because of their guilty pleas. As well as six years imprisonment for manslaughter, Namana received concurrent terms of two years' jail on two charges of wilful ill-treatment, two years on two charges of failing to provide the necessaries of life and 18 months for an earlier assault on Lillybing. Paewai received terms of two years' jail on the two charges of ill-treatment and the two charges of failing to provide the necessaries.

They go to prison leaving behind seven children, a bitterly divided whanau and a vitally important unanswered question. Who caused Lillybing's vaginal injury? Justice Durie told the court he had to conclude from the depositions evidence that neither Namana nor Paewai nor anyone in their immediate household was responsible. But the police officer in charge of the case, Inspector Rod Drew, is not sure. In a press statement issued at the court he said that although the women admitting noticing something was wrong with Lillybing's vagina on the day before she died, "it should not necessarily be inferred that a third person was involved in inflicting the injuries. "The injuries were violent, but not necessarily sexually motivated ones," he said. "Expert opinion on when they were inflicted, possibly contemporaneous with the prolonged and violent 'toilet training' inflicted by Rachaelle Namana on the Friday night may be relevant."

The file would remain open and police would continue their investigations, Inspector Drew said. Namana and Paewai and other family members have been accused of shielding the person responsible.

After the sentencing, some of the women's supporters yesterday angrily alleged police knew who it was but did not give any details. small Lillybing's mother, Terina Matiaha and Namana's partner, David Hemopo, were in court, with a small number of supporters. The family did not escape criticism from the judge, who acknowledged Namana had sought help for her early abuse of Lillybing during the time she breastfed her. The family stopped taking the child to her aunt but then started again.

" Lillybing was loaded on to you when it must have been known that you were heavily busy and under pressure and stress, and you agreed to take the child when others, who might have, did not," he said. "Other persons are not on trial and they have not been heard, so there is very little I can say about that. Nonetheless, it does seem to me regrettable that you alone should be having to bear the burden of responsibility."

Namana's lawyer, Val Nisbet, said the pressures placed on Namana by the family were intolerable. She was expected to care for up to 10 children for periods that could last up to 10 days. He called for leniency based on Namana's guilty plea, good history, personal circumstances, remorse and the nature of Lillybing's death. Her aunt had never thought her actions would lead to the toddler's death and it was "a case where a series of mishaps and mischoices occurred".

Justice Durie acknowledged many of Namana and her lawyer's submissions, but said that in the end he gave very little weight to them. "No matter the stress, no matter the burdens placed upon you and no matter your concerns for what might have happened had Lillybing's injuries been known to others, none of it can possibly excuse the failure to obtain medical help for this child when medical help was so patently required."

Although he accepted that Namana had shown remorse, her probation report concluded that her tendency to minimise her offending and Lillybing's injuries meant her motivation for reform was low.

In Paewai's case, the judge acknowledged she was a party to the offences but rejected a plea from her lawyer, Nigel Hewat, for a suspended sentence, saying she too failed to get Lillybing the medical help she desperately needed. Outside the court, Inspector Drew said no one on the investigation team had heard or seen remorse from Namana or Paewai. Visibly upset, he said Lillybing's death raised questions about the "looseness and abuse of the extended family concept" which had led in her case to no-one taking direct responsibility for the little girl. The case had been difficult for inquiry team and had contributed to the resignation of two senior police officers, he said.
"Those of us who worked on the Lillybing inquiry won't forget her haunted wee face. Images of her injuries will stay with us."


On June 12, 2014, while checking for updates on this story, specifically trying to find out if Namana had been released from prison, I found this:

Posted on March 10, 2006
By Dr Muriel Newman
10 March 06

Prisons, Porn and P

Like most New Zealanders I was appalled last weekend to read that the killer of Lillybing had enjoyed a life of P and porn in prison. In a media interview she explained that prison “is not as hard as people make out”.

Rachel Namana, sentenced to six years in jail in 2001 for the manslaughter of the 23 months old toddler, said she smoked pure methamphetamine for the first time in jail. She had access to other drugs as well and frequently downloaded porn on her cellphone.

She admitted that she was not rehabilitated while in jail, is now heavily influenced by gang members and has no desire to make contact with her five children who are in CYFS care. She has no job, goes out partying most nights with other ex inmates, and every week deposits money into the accounts of associates in prison so they can buy supplies inside. She is not confident of keeping out of jail.

This story is a real indictment of our criminal justice system. A serious violent criminal, having served her time in prison, feels that she was not punished and nor was she rehabilitated.

(This is only part of an article that I found, the rest is talking about the rehabilitation process in New Zealand, though it did mention an American Sheriff name Joe Arpaio, the one how has the outside tents that he keeps his prisoners in. You can read the entire article, here: Prison, Porn and P)
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