stuff.co.nz, 14 May 2009
The stolen concrete lion statue that was said to be the cause of a curse on a Wainuiomata woman looked much happier after it was returned to its Wairarapa home, a jury has been told.
“After it was placed back it looked much happier, it wasn’t as ugly as it was when I first seen it,” Nanette Wright said in the High Court at Wellington today.
Ms Wright was giving evidence at the trial where her mother and eight of her relatives are charged with the manslaughter of Janet Moses, 22, at Wainuiomata on October 12, 2007. Ms Moses allegedly drowned during a water-based ritual to cleanse her of evil spirits.
A kaumatua had told the family that the lion, which Ms Moses’ sister had taken from the Greytown hotel a few weeks earlier, should be returned as part of the process of making Ms Moses better. She had been behaving oddly and had been unresponsive.
Ms Wright, one of Ms Moses’ many cousins, said Ms Moses had seemed a bit better after the lion was taken back to the hotel but then returned to acting strangely and saying little.
NOT HER NORMAL SELF
Earlier, the court heard Ms Moses was badly affected by the death of her grandmother about six weeks before her own death.
Giving evidence in the High Court at Wellington today, Ngahihioterangi Wright – daughter of accused woman Glenys Wright – said she thought Janet Moses may have had psychological problems after their grandmother died.
“She just wasn’t her normal self, like the normal cousin I am used to seeing, I was used to seeing,” Ms Wright said.
When Ms Moses became withdrawn and acted strangely her family believed she had been cursed and an hours-long ritual was conducted to remove the curse, leading to her death from drowning, the Crown alleges.
Ms Wright told the court that Ms Moses was the closest of all her cousins to their grandmother.
They were all devastated when their grandmother died but Ms Moses seemed really affected and Ms Wright through she might have had some psychological problems straight after the death.
THE COURT CASE
Nine of Janet Moses’ relatives are charged with her manslaughter, which the Crown alleges was the result of an attempt to remove a curse a makutu or evil spirit.
They are: John Tahana Rawiri, 49, Georgina Aroha Rawiri, 50, Aroha Gwendoline Wharepapa, 48, Hall Jones Wharepapa, 46, Tanginoa Apanui, 42, Angela Rangiaroha Orupe, 46, Gaylene Tangiohorere Kepa, 44, Alfred Hughes Kepa, 48, and Glenys Lynette Wright, 52.
Two people, with name suppression, are charged with cruelty to a 14-year-old girl in their care.
– The Dominion Post