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Nia Glassie’s siblings doing well with Dad

Filed under: Domestic Violence,Law & Courts — Vman @ 3:41 pm Wed 19th November 2008

Nia Glassie’s siblings are thriving in Tokoroa with their grandparents and father as their mother and others implicated in  their sister’s death face jail.

Lisa Kuka, 35, was found guilty of two charges of manslaughter in the High Court at Rotorua yesterday after a month-long trial that revealed shocking details of months of abuse that ended in  her three-year-old  daughter’s death.

Kuka’s partner, Wiremu Curtis, 19, and his brother Michael, 22, were both found guilty of murdering Nia. A cousin of Nia’s father, Glassie Glassie jnr, who asked not to be named, told the Waikato Times Nia’s three siblings from Kuka’s relationship with Mr Glassie, aged 12, 11 and 9, were thriving.

“The kids have an awesome relationship with their grand-parents, dad and the extended family,”   the cousin said.

“Uncle Glassie and Aunty Celline and Glassie Jnr have been an anchor for the children. It has been amazing how the children have grown with their guidance.”

The cousin said the family wanted to put the trial behind them. “After what they have been through, it is time to let the kids be kids.”

Nia suffered a brain haemorrhage on July 20 last year at the Rotorua house the five accused shared. She died in hospital on August 3.

As the verdicts were delivered yesterday afternoon, a tearful Michael Curtis tried to leave the dock and had to be restrained by guards.

Nia’s cousin, Michael Pearson, 20, and Michael Curtis’ partner, Oriwa Kemp, 19, were found not guilty of manslaughter.   All  the accused, except Kuka, were also found guilty on other charges relating to  abuse at the house.

Kuka still swears she “did not know what was going on in the house”.

After the verdict,  her lawyer, Panama Le’au’anae,  said Kuka was “devastated” by Nia’s death and the little girl was “always in her mind”.

Hamilton-based child protection consultant Anthea Simcock said the case, and that of the Kahui twins, highlighted the need for people to speak out about suspected abuse.

People refrained from opening their mouths “because they think it is none of their business; we know the consequences of what happens when we don’t”.


  1. do you have a link to this info please?

    Comment by Scott — Wed 19th November 2008 @ 3:56 pm

  2. Who to speak out TO?
    Not CYF surely?
    We need CYF to be re-booted into an accountable, family friendly, father friendly organization that good parents are not afraid of.
    Then perhaps we would have somewhere to speak out to.

    Comment by John Brett — Wed 19th November 2008 @ 4:19 pm

  3. I have heard several men complain that their complaints to CYFs regarding the safety of their children, in the care of the children’s mother, were not listened to by CYFs.

    There were two young Aplin? girls living near to Palmerston North, who were murdered by their step father, in their mother’s house. In this case CYFs denied that they had received complaints over at least a 6 months period, from the father. The father later produced telephone bills, showing when the calls were made and how long they lasted. CYFs then retracted, saying that they had got their records mixed up. It sounded awfully as though CYFs had dismissed the father’s complaints, without in any way at all investigating them.

    I have known of several fathers who had been denied contact with their children, by the mother refusing to obey or honour familycaught orders. The familycaught steadfastly refused to enforce orders that it had made!

    Later, when the mother’s care had come into question, after complaints by teachers or neighbours, social workers were looking at the chidren’s extended family for possible carers. They considered – apparently as a matter of personal judgement (incidentally outside the written CYFs statute law!) – that the fathers are not part of the family. It seems that they were able to make this assessment without even talking to the fathers in any way! Essentially, they were accepting the mother’s assessment of the father!, the same mother that they were now removing the children from!!!!!

    Someone in the mother’s family told the father that CYFs were making these enquiries, about who was available to care for the children?

    The father contacted CYFs, but was told he wouldn’t even be considered.

    I am not saying that all social workers behave in this way. The erratic unpredictability results from the lack of relevant training of many social workers. These decisions are effectively random gambling with children’s lives.

    I guess this reflects the lack of relevant professional training possessed by these social workers. Although several judicial enquiries have pressed the Government to recruit properly trained social workers, as fast as they have recruited suitably trained staff, they have lost the same number somewhere else.

    Practically – no progress has been made!

    Unfortunately, it seems that the general voting public are more concerned about tax cuts, than they are about the quality of decisions being made, about removing children from families. Maybe we remove about the right number of children – it’s just that we seem to remove children who should not have been removed and fail to remove children who need to be removed to keep them alive.

    To add insult to injury, some of the removed children are killed, by caregivers chosen by CYFs.

    This alone shows the lack of decision making ability within CYFs. Boldly painted in red letters.

    While “judges” have been calling for better qualified social workers, it is notable that our NZ appointed “judges” are not professionally or relevantly trained as judges!

    We follow the British style, of appointing lawyers, to then act as judges.

    Anyway, please don’t die laughing, as children’s lives are being extinguished for no good reason. One day, one of them might be your own child or your own grandchild.

    Standing by, making complaints that are clearly just being ignored, is extremely disheartening and soul destroying. Then to have to face the preventable death of your child must be one of the cruelest ways we could ever treat any parent.

    All that I can say to a father trapped in this situation is “document your complaint as well as you can and send it into CYFs. Maybe, do this 2 or 3 times over several months. Then, try to stand back and have a laugh about it. You have to maintain your own sanity and status as being alive, to do your best for your children. If you damage yourself, in frustration, you cannot in any way protect or care for your children. You cannot take responsibility for other people’s decisions, so don’t risk killing yourself by trying. They must take responsibility for their own behaviours”

    I suggest to have a laugh at the untrained “judges” suggesting the Government employ more trained social workers.

    The guts of this situation, is that the “checks and balances” that the “judges” should be supplying aren’t working, due to the lack of relevant professional level training possessed by these “judges”. It is reminiscent of John Russel running around the country, telling everyone else how to run their finance companies, just before his SecurityBank? went bust.

    Here we have the untrained “judges” calling for trained social workers!!!!

    I trust that you will notice that these “judges” make good public theatre with gowns and “my learned fiend”. It doesn’t matter to them whether the right people enter jail, or just the right number. Their pay and “honours” are the same in either case! Its very parallel to CYFs, isn’t it?

    The erratic unpredictability on the familycaught results from the lack of relevant training of all of the “judges”. These decisions are effectively random gambling with children’s lives.

    Its quite funny, isn’t it, that the mothers and fathers who share their children with the other parent, are under less stress – due to having better support. The most inadequate parents, who try to block off their children’s relationship with the other parent, end up overstressed and lacking support. You don’t have to be a genius to see the pattern!

    Why then do these “judges” give such support to mothers who cutoff access?

    Is it just because they make more work and money out of it – at the cost of the children’s lives?

    Taxpayers and children would both be better served by appointing relevantly and professionally trained social workers (and judges too!!!!). Fewer people would be needed, if they knew how to do their jobs and got stuck in and did the work successfully. (This goes for judges jobs too.)

    Remember, the familycaught mainly hurts people who take it too seriously.

    Best regards, MurrayBacon.

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Wed 19th November 2008 @ 8:24 pm

  4. The chickens are really coming to roost, aren’t they, fathers have been saying that this will happen, Nia Glessie, Baby P, Victoria Climbie, AND THIS IS ONLY THE START. The statistics have long told this, but the number of these shocking incidents seems to be rising, DON’T SAY FATHERS DIDN’T WARN YOU !

    Comment by Martin Swash — Thu 20th November 2008 @ 6:20 am

  5. The OP was from the Waikato Times via

    I note that our old nemesis Roger McClay is going to do his own investigation to make sure that men are deamonised and the fact the children are now doing well with Dad gets hidden from the public.

    From Radio NZ:

    A former Children’s Commissioner, Roger McClay, plans to investigate the circumstances surrounding the killing of Nia Glassie.

    On Tuesday, Wiremu and Michael Curtis were found guilty of the murder of the child in Rotorua last year. She was aged three years.

    Her mother, Lisa Kuka, was convicted on two charges of manslaughter. Two others were found guilty of child cruelty.

    Mr McClay told Morning Report he has no legal powers, but he believes he can help bring the community together to tackle violence against children.

    He hopes to talk with the Glassie family as well as those accused of Nia’s abuse and murder.

    Comment by Dave — Thu 20th November 2008 @ 2:37 pm

  6. Although this case with Nia Glassie is extremely sad and illustrates the need for more public intervention to prevent child abuse of any nature. There is still a need for public awareness and front line social work reform with in CYF. CYF have a free totalitarian culture at present where there is a urgent need for a independent monitoring body/agency. assessing/monitoring front line social work, enforcing quality standards that are fair, valid, honest, and consistent.

    Until this happens and CYF stop their self police policy, caring families, parents and children implicated by CYF intervention will never ever have a fair and honest working relationship. Although there are many different circumstances from an array of individual cases, CYF will throw all cases into one bag labelled “dysfunctional” in the name of care and protection.

    Whether its CYF lack of intervention in some cases or over kill of intervention in other cases, CYF NEED TO BE MADE ACCOUNTABLE. The only way to enforce accountability is to have front line social work monitored to qualitative standards that are fair,valid, honest and consistent.

    Comment by Ben Karewa — Thu 20th November 2008 @ 7:21 pm

  7. Dear Ben, when you say that the Nia Glassey case shows the need for more intervention, you seem to be making the assumption that more is better.

    It would be nice if this was true, but at present CYFs record of injury and death of children in their care, shows that more intervention is likely to result in the deaths and injury of more children.

    It is very important that CYFs move to a policy of successful interventions. This will only occur when their performance is measured and the results are publicly available in an honest, timely and complete form. The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth!

    At present, they are doing about as much harm as they are doing good. When you consider the cost of their service, they are achieving no net deliverable value at a very high cost, in both social damage and financially.

    In terms of checks and balances, the familycaught “judges” are meant to be a check on social workers. Sometimes this works, but typically they fail to demand accountability for social workers actions. In any case, these “checks and balances” are hidden from public view, so even if they worked some of the time, they are of no wider social value. Rather than setting any form of quality control or standard for social workers behaviour, these “judges” behaviour is simply erratic and unpredictable and of negligible value towards making children’s lives safer in any sense, let alone alive/dead.

    This reflects the all pervading dimness and dullness of “secrecy”, it protects those who need public accountability, far more than it protects children. I would venture to say that familycaught secrecy kills children, by retarding, delaying or preventing accountability, in the areas where it is needed to save children’s lives.

    I am aware that CYFs do carry out a very very small amount of research. It is of variable quality, some of it is good. It appears that the Department is extremely slow to respond to their own research. Maybe this is necessary, as the amount of research is so small compared to the scale of their problems, that it doesn’t really inform in terms of offering concrete recommendations and showing that the recommendations are safe in the wide real world, to follow.

    The cost of the research, compared to their turnover, is so tiny, that it is far out of proportion to how mature social work is as an industry. Generally mature industries spend less of their turnover on research. CYFs seem to think social work is a mature industry, as judged by their spending on research. From the outside, judging by CYFs public failures, social work appears to me to be an immature industry, so that much more spending on quality research is justified. Really, this reflects that CYFs is a monopoly, rather than that they have successfully achieved the status of a mature industry.

    I would far rather throw away secrecy, so that children could be better protected, sooner. I value children’s lives, over social workers and “judges” comfort.

    When CYFs can show that they have changed and developed to the point where they can nurture children more safely than dangerous parents, then it would be safe and desirable to allow them to do more.

    Until then, they are best seen as a menace to parents and in particular to children.

    Cheers, MurrayBacon.

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Thu 20th November 2008 @ 7:50 pm

  8. Hi Murray

    I need to clarify my point here “the need is for more public intervention” inregards to helping prevent such sad and extreme child abuse as in Nia Glassies case. We the public also have a collective responsibility to protect children where and when possible.

    CYF as you have outlined are in many circumstances doing more “harm than good”. Having recognised that fact, it should be a priority for the MSD, policy makers, and Parliament to implement some qualitative measures
    for front line “social work”.

    Specifically to ensure that all families whether good, bad or ugly are treated in a fair,valid,honest and consistent manner.

    This problem needs a “bottom up” not a “top down” approach, front line social work needs to be monitored by a independent agency/body. Until this happens “ALL” families “the good ,bad and the ugly” will be thrown in to the one bag and labelled dysfunctional. This is not fair, or just, it is a blanket policy that covers all families associated with CYF. It is a guilty until investigations are finished or shoot first policy.

    More importantly it is totally unfair for the good, or changed parents that are still alienated and segregated from their children. CYF overtly and covertly whether intentional or not delay, avoid, and delay the progressive return of the child to the the parent. Where weeks turn into months and months turn into years.

    But I know families want to be treated fairly, whether they are right or wrong there needs to be qualitative standards of social work that are used and monitored in front line social work.

    CYF have close to 100 full time researches employed at present !!!! What are they doing? Besides existing in a red tape bound organisation that is multiply layered with more unfair and injust red tape.

    But it is the unaccountable freedom that CYF social workers presently have that is unfairly hurting ALOT of good families or families that have proven sustainable change.

    Until front line social work is monitored independently NO FAMILY WILL EVER GET A FAIR GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The Complaints system ????????????????? if you wish to complain, complain at the ombudsmens office(Google it). CYF are reknown for sweeping complaints under a mat, but you can email your complaints to [email protected] there is a lengthy process. Thats for the guy asking at the top thread 🙂

    Comment by Ben Karewa — Thu 20th November 2008 @ 8:45 pm

  9. Good comments Ben and all posters.

    One aspect of the Nia Glassie case that (of course) has not been highlighted is that it involved a woman in her 30’s having a relationship with a 17 year old young man conveniently referred to as her “partner”. The young man is now 19, and although said to be developmentally delayed with a mental age of 12 years is convicted of murder. You can be sure that if the gender roles here had been reversed, much would have been made of the older male’s exploitation of the younger female, and her powerlessness as she became caught up in the gang culture and activities in the household.

    Never mind, he’s only a male so who cares?

    Comment by Hans Laven — Thu 20th November 2008 @ 10:51 pm

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