Regional | Crime

Oranga Tamariki joins investigation into ‘violent’ death of Te Kūiti baby

Oranga Tamariki Photo / Jason Oxenham

Oranga Tamariki is assisting police with their investigation into the “violent” death of a Te Kūiti baby.

The Waitomo District mayor has called the death a tragedy for the whole community and is urging those with information to come forward.

Police continue their scene examination today at a home and are making inquiries with locals.

Pitkethley said the initial examination showed the baby had suffered violent, blunt-force trauma.

“We believe these injuries were not accidental.”

Police at a Te Kūiti property at the centre of a homicide investigation into the death of a 10-month-old baby boy. Photo / Maryana Garcia

Oranga Tamariki DCE service delivery Rachel Leota said the agency was notified on Sunday.

“We are assisting Police in trying to understand the circumstances that led to this,” Leota said.

The district’s mayor John Robertson said the death was a tragedy and would shake his small community.

“It’s a tragedy for the community,” Robertson said.

He said police called him last night to warn him about their investigation and said he did not have any information about the death.

Waitomo District mayor John Robertson urged people to come forward if they had any information. Photo / Supplied

Robertson urged members of the community to come forward if they knew anything.

“We know each other well and are a well-connected community,” Robertson said.

He said he was shocked by the news of the death and could not recall anything similar happening before.

“Nobody in the community likes to think that this sort of thing can happen in their community without knowing it,” Robertson said.

A police spokesperson said there were no updates on the homicide investigation this morning.

Pitkethley said police would question locals over the coming days.

“The death of any child is a shock to the community, and we know many in Te Kūiti will be affected by this.”

The baby was taken to Te Kūiti Hospital on Saturday afternoon. Image / Google

Pitkethley said full details of the baby’s injuries would be made public and the full extent of the abuse he suffered would be determined by a post-mortem examination.

He said the boy’s family had already been spoken to, including his parents.

“They are working with us as we establish what occurred in this young child’s life and how he came to be so badly injured.”

Anyone with information that could help the investigation is asked to contact police via the 105 phone service and reference file number 240608/8263.

Rachel Maher is an Auckland-based reporter who covers breaking news. She has worked for the Herald since 2022.

- NZ Herald