Community farewells baby Mona in moving service at Mangere cemetery

Nicole Barratt, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Monday, 2 October 2017, 10:33AM

About 100 mourners formed a ring around a tiny white coffin, tractor and car stickers dotting its lid.

A spinning windmill, a pot of yellow daisies and an assortment of teddies accompanied the baby boy who was abandoned in a South Auckland park last November.

Members of the Mangere community gathered this afternoon at the Mangere Lawn Cemetery to farewell baby Mona. The baby boy was given that name after a man walking his dog discovered the body of the infant at a reserve near Mona Ave, Mangere.

The service, led by Father Michael Endemann, took place despite a heavy downpour.

It was funded by community members who wanted to give the child a proper goodbye.

Mangere MP Aupito William Sio addressed the service's attendees, and thanked them for their love and support.

"Everything that has taken place today is a result of people wanting to make sure that the baby would be properly buried...Thank you to everyone who has come forward and who has shown their love, their care and their desire for this service to take place."

The baby's mother was unknown, but Sio said they didn't want to bury the child without recognising he belonged to someone.

"That little life is precious."

Sio said as a father of "six beautiful daughters", the incident offered an opportunity to reflect on parenting.

"I would hope my daughters feel safe enough, and know that I love them enough to come to me if there are some significant decisions in their life where they may feel the way I imagine this mother might have felt."

The MP said he was hopeful Baby Mona's mother was an attendee of the service today.

"I can only imagine how low and how she must feel to do what has happened, I don't know what the reasons are, and I make no judgements... But I believe that she needs help, she needs to also have closure."

The sun emerged as soil was moved onto the tiny coffin by children who attended the service. An orange matchbox car was placed on its lid before it was covered with earth.

Ginna Crichton, a 23-year-old Mangere resident, teared up as she told the Herald why she came to the service.

"It's just good to come out and support our community. I've got my niece here and my nephew, we wouldn't want them to go through that."

Haimona Tipene, 16, also came to pay his respects.

"I think it's real sad, real sad. I wouldn't wish it upon anyone to be honest."

The 16-year-old described the service as beautiful; "So many people from the community turned up and showed face."

Despite a police investigation and pleas for the mother of the child to come forward, the baby's family was never found and the case was referred to the coroner.

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