OPINION: I grew up in a town just out of Tauranga called Te Puna. It was an awesome place to grow up. Rural, but close enough to the city.
The people were great, the community spirit was awesome, and it’ll always be ‘home’.
So when I saw an article about a 5-year-old boy from Te Puna dying in Starship Hospital of severe injuries last week, it cut straight to my heart.
A beautiful 5 year old boy from my hometown, allegedly beaten to death. His name is Malachi Subecz.
Police have launched a homicide investigation. They’ve made a plea for more information regarding his death, and the months leading up to it.
The story has broken the local community. The reports of his injuries are too graphic to repeat. They’re some of the worst doctors have seen, I’m told.
And now the questions start: what happened? How was it allowed to happen? Was he in state care? Did the neighbours know? Were there regular police callouts? Was this commonplace? Where are his parents? Where did the system fail?
We ask these questions far too often in this country. Every 5 weeks we ask this question, when a child dies at the hands of a family member.Every 8th homicide victim in New Zealand is a child, of which 2/3s are under the age of 2.
Every year, 150,000 reports of concern relating to children are made to Oranga Tamariki. We have the 7th highest rate of child homicide in the OECD.
Something is seriously wrong.
Something has to change.
We’re great at so many things in this country, but we’re not great at protecting our kids. So when are we going to start doing something about it?
Because it’s happening everywhere - even in your own home town.
Catch Lloyd Burr Live every weekday from 4pm on Magic Talk.