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‘Finally being heard’

Relentless family efforts to find a Tolaga Bay mum missing for four months are attracting national interest.

Jamie Kaiwai, a 27-year-old mother of one, was last seen in her car at the Tolaga Bay Wharf car-park on Friday, October 11 but her cousin Jonique Oli-Alainu'uese has been trying to find Jamie, after she was able to track her last movements through the location app on her phone.

After being covered in The Gisborne Herald on several occasions, those efforts were given national media attention on Three's The Hui current affairs programme.

Speaking to presenter Mihingarangi Forbes, Jonique indicated she believed the fact Jamie had mental health issues and used cannabis could have impacted the way police investigated her disappearance as not suspicious.

While police have sent away some of Jamie Kaiwai's clothing, they didn't take fingerprints from two potential crime scenes — her car or the room where she was living.

Jonique is disappointed with the police response to her case.

“I'm not asking them for a miracle. I'm just asking for the bare minimum. And I feel like what they've given us isn't even the bare minimum,” she told The Hui.

However, police have denied that, telling The Hui the case is still open and are awaiting the result of testing. They believe they have done everything they can and expressed their aroha to Kaiwai's family.

Speaking to The Gisborne Herald today, Jonique said the family felt their efforts were finally being taken seriously.

“To be honest, when I first started searching for her, when that first social media post went up, I never, ever expected it to go viral, or to get this big. But it was the only way I could. I just wasn't getting anywhere with the police or getting anywhere with anything.

“Since then the media came in and it gained quite a bit of attention.

“At the moment I'm feeling good that we are finally being heard. It's almost been five months and it feels good that her story is finally getting out there and we are finally getting some decent help.

“I know there are a lot of people who have been quite tired about how much I have been posting on social media.

“I've been accused of causing violence in the community and these are all only just because I've been searching for her.

“There has been a lot of positive and there has been a lot of negative, but at the end of the day I am really grateful for the amount of attention it has received.

“But it means nothing if we don't get any answers.”

The wider family was also grateful for the amount of support they had been given from many quarters.

“I'm hoping that now we will get some answers and now we will be taken seriously.”

The Hui programme featuring the family will be repeated tonight at 10.35pm on TV Three.

■ If you have any information on Jamie, contact police on 105, quoting job number 191014/3116.

SEARCHING FOR JAMIE: Tolaga Bay mother Jamie Kaiwai's disappearance has featured on TV Three's current affairs. Picture supplied

  1. Rose Gardner, Whangamata says:

    The local police should be ashamed with how they handled this case. Maybe if they had done a diligent job with the undertakings of gathering vital evidence at the beginning of her disappearance, the whanau might have an answer. For police not to have taken finger prints or look over phone records surrounding the time of her disappearance baffles me, because these are key starting points that could have led them to further answers. It is now five months down the track . . . this hurts to see, especially with all the media coverage on other cases of missing females. Just because she’s Maori with mental illness I feel she didn’t receive the proper investigation she was entitled to, along with every other right of a human being!!

    1. Jared, Hastings says:

      Good on you, well done. Kia kaha

  2. Thalia, Blenheim says:

    I have followed this case from the start, searching it up every week to see if there is any progress in the case. I think it’s horrible the way the police handled this case and that they owe it to the family to fully investigate, to give them the answers they need. There’s definitely more to this case. My heart goes out to the whanau xx