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Statement re Chris Kahui and Marcia Ngapera

Statement re Chris Kahui and Marcia Ngapera
27 March 2009

To be attributed to Ray Smith, Deputy Chief Executive – Child, Youth and Family

Child, Youth and Family was notified by staff at Auckland Hospital of concerns for the wellbeing of the baby about to be born to Ms Ngapera and Mr Kahui.

We met with medical professionals, including specialist paediatrician Dr Patrick Kelly, to discuss their concerns and established that there were no medical reasons why we should not discuss the safety of the baby with Ms Ngapera at that time.

While we would not normally interview a woman when she was in early labour, this is a couple who had not been truthful with us in the past. Our paramount concerns were the safety of this newborn baby, and those concerns outweighed the desires of the parents.

By having this discussion on the night of 21 November, and the family agreeing to a safety plan, we were able to avoid the distress of seeking emergency custody orders through the Court. Ms Ngapera’s baby was born the following afternoon.

In cases like these, the public looks to Child, Youth and Family to act swiftly and decisively. People can be assured that we take this responsibility extremely seriously.

We are continuing to work very closely with the family and longer term arrangements about ensuring the baby’s safety are currently before the courts.

Editor’s Notes:

The Kahui/Ngapera family agreed to a safety plan for baby Carla. Part of this plan requires all contact between Chris and his daughter to be supervised by a person approved by Child, Youth and Family. In this case, the supervisors are family members who we believe are protective and understand the possible risks. They are not Child, Youth and Family staff.

ENDS

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