Death – A decade of violent death: New Zealand’s 158 lost women

Death – Obituary

New Zealand has the worst rate of family and intimate-partner violence in the world. A shocking 80 per cent of incidents go unreported — so what we know of family violence in our community is barely the tip of the iceberg. Today is part three of We’re Better Than This, a week long series on family violence. Our aim is to raise awareness, to educate, to give an insight into the victims and perpetrators. We want to encourage victims to have the strength to speak out, and abusers the courage to change their behaviour.

Christie, Cissy. Joanne. Jasmine. Marie. Blessie. Chozyn. Alicia. Verity. Nicole. Bella. Azalia. Crystal. Michelle. Noelene. Bridget. Gurpreet.

These are just some of the names of Kiwi women who should still be alive.

These are just some of the names that made headlines here – and around the world -when their lives were cruelly and violently ended, and mostly at the hands of men.

But these names are only the tip of the iceberg – highlighting only the worst of the worst cases of abuse, assault, revenge, deadly jealously, vile rage and the entitlement of some men to mete out violence and retribution at will.

Since January 2011 there have been 695 deaths in New Zealand categorised by police as homicides.

A homicide is the killing of one person by another.

In New Zealand charges that can arise from a homicide include murder and manslaughter and the overlapping offences of infanticide and driving offences causing death.

Data provided to the Herald by the police under the Official Information Act shows that of the homicides in the last decade, 211 of the victims were female.

Of those, 158 were adults aged 18 and over.

Twenty-two of the women were killed in driving or transport-related incidents including quad bike and boating incidents.

The rest died after violent or abusive incidents – and more than half were killed by a partner or family member.

Four of the women were pregnant when they were beaten or stabbed to death.

Others were murdered while their horrified children watched on close by.

Police are called out every four minutes to a domestic violence incident. Photo / Bevan Conley.
Police are called out every four minutes to a domestic violence incident. Photo / Bevan Conley.

Police charged 20 partners – husbands, boyfriends or girlfriend – and 21 ex or estranged partners with murder or manslaughter.

Just three women were killed in attacks by random strangers and in each case they were out in broad daylight walking or exercising.

The list provided by police only includes homicide cases where someone has been charged.

There are other cases where women have been killed by partners or exes who also died.

For example in January 2020 Sherine Nath, 32 was dead found at her Papatoetoe home.

Her young son was critically injured but survived.

Her husband Riki Nath, 34, was also found dead and is believed to have been responsible for the fatal incident.

In 2013 Glenys Stanton and her boyfriend Trevor Waite were shot dead at his South Auckland home.

Three days their killer John Mowatt – a man Stanton had previously spent time with – took his own life.

And on March 10 this year police believe Viliami Latu killed the mother of his four children Toakase Finau before ending his own life.

Police at the scene after Glenys Stanton and Trevor Waite were killed. Photo / NZH
Police at the scene after Glenys Stanton and Trevor Waite were killed. Photo / NZH

Latu had a long history of violence towards Finau and when they died was facing a raft of charges including assaulting her and breaching his bail conditions.

Finau had been granted a protection order against Latu but he ignored it completely – as he had with earlier police safety orders.

New Zealand has the highest rate of intimate partner violence against women in the OECD.

However, only about 20 per cent of incidents are ever reported so what we know from data collected by authorities is only a small glimpse into an ever-increasing and extremely serious problem.

Here, one in three women – 35 per cent – have experienced physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence in their lifetime.

When psychological and/or emotional abuse is included that figure increases to 55 per cent of women.

While men can also be the victim of intimate partner violence, the majority of the abuse perpetrated is against women.

In most of the cases where women were killed someone was put before the courts charged with murder or manslaughter.

And in most cases they pleaded guilty or were convicted after a jury trial.

A few killers were found not guilty of a murder charge by reason of insanity and while they were not criminally culpable there is no question that they were responsible for the death.

In those cases the killers were detained indefinitely as special patients to forensic psychiatric units.

In one case – the death of Auckland woman Cissy Chen – her partner was charged with murder but walked free after a jury found him not guilty.

Police said they would not reinvestigate Chen’s death and were not looking for anyone else in connection with the crime.

Family or domestic violence is an umbrella term that includes: intimate partner physical and sexual violence, child abuse and neglect, sibling abuse, parental abuse, elder abuse, and violence against disabled people.

If you or someone you know is being abused in any way – please reach out for help. A list of help services and information can be found at the bottom of this story.

If you are being harmed, remember, it is never your fault.

Today the Herald remembers and pays tribute to all of the women killed in New Zealand in violent and murderous incidents in the last decade.

Decade of death: Our lost women remembered

These are the details of the women who have died in violent circumstances from January 1 2011 to October 16 2021.

Names marked with * indicate cases where a protection order, trespass order or bail with non-contact condition were in place at time of the victim’s death.

Some of the women cannot be named at this time due to court ordered suppression.

2011

Ranjeeta Sharma, 28
Huntly
Burned alive by her husband

Ranjeeta Sharma. Photo / Supplied
Ranjeeta Sharma. Photo / Supplied

Titiksha Desai, 45
East Auckland
Stabbed by her estranged husband

Sandra Brown, 58
Tauranga
Stabbed by her daughter’s ex-boyfriend

Lesley Johnston , 60
Roxburgh
Shot by her estranged husband

Stacey Lake, 23
Otaki Beach
Shot by her boyfriend

Susan Audley, 44
Tauranga
Fatal assault at a mental health facility by another patient

Eman Hurmiz, 41
Wellington
Stabbed by her husband

Bronwyn Sadler, 47
Christchurch
Stabbed by her partner

Lusi Aleni, 41
Balclutha
Stabbed by her husband

Christie Marceau. Photo / Supplied
Christie Marceau. Photo / Supplied

*Christie Marceau, 18
North Shore
Stabbed by obsessed ex colleague who was on bail for kidnapping, assaulting her

2012

Tracy Morris, 46
Christchurch
Strangled by a male friend

Lisa Corbett, 37
Nelson
Strangled by her former partner

Sanchia Wilson, 33
Wanganui
Fatal overdose administered by her boyfriend

Rosemary Kurth, 50
Okoki
Shot by her partner’s teenage grandson

Sharon Foley, 39
Richmond
Stabbed by her abusive estranged partner

Michelle Lawrence. Photo / Supplied
Michelle Lawrence. Photo / Supplied

*Michelle Lawrence, 41
Christchurch
Beaten by jealous on-off partner

Rae Portman, 33
South Auckland
Pregnant woman beaten to death and dumped by drug associates

Rae Portman. Photo / Supplied
Rae Portman. Photo / Supplied

Woman, name suppressed
Christchurch
Stabbed to death by man known to her

*Robyn Prole, 57
Tauranga
Stabbed by her abusive estranged husband

Robyn Prole. Photo / Supplied
Robyn Prole. Photo / Supplied

*Ashlee Edwards, 21
Whangarei
Drowned by her abusive former partner

Ashlee Edwards. Photo / Supplied
Ashlee Edwards. Photo / Supplied

Mary Donnelly, 38
Upper Hutt
Strangled by her former neighbour

Maryann Akuhata, 48
Gisborne
Set on fire by her partner

Anne McCullough. Photo / Supplied
Anne McCullough. Photo / Supplied

Anne McCullough, 45
New Plymouth
Jogger run down and killed by random man

Cissy Chen. Photo / Supplied
Cissy Chen. Photo / Supplied

Bin “Cissy” Chen, 44
North Shore
Partner charged with her murder but acquitted after High Court jury trial

Michelle Hoffman-Tam, 51
Rotorua
Stabbed, mutilated by woman she had been seeing casually

Michelle Hoffman-Tamm. Photo / Ben Fraser
Michelle Hoffman-Tamm. Photo / Ben Fraser

Amanda Taufale, 33
Wellington
Stabbed by her ex-partner who hid in roof and waited to attack

Alicia McCallion, 23
South Auckland
Stabbed by her jealous ex-partner

Sina Solomona. Photo / Supplied
Sina Solomona. Photo / Supplied

Sina Solomona, 22
Ashburton
Violated, stabbed by stepbrother

2013

Patricia McGrath, 33
Whangarei
Assaulted by her abusive on-off partner

Patricia McGrath. Photo / Michael Cunningham
Patricia McGrath. Photo / Michael Cunningham

Robyn Grace, 43
Blenheim
Killed with axe by her son

Nicola Fleming, 38
Invercargill
Violated, beaten by her jealous ex-partner

Carmen Popata
Pamapuria
Shot along with her husband by nephew in execution-style killing

*Gail Bower, 48
Havelock North
Stabbed by estranged husband

Gail Bower. Photo / Supplied
Gail Bower. Photo / Supplied

Barbara Moka, 32
Omanaia
Beaten by her ex-partner

Georgina Manuel, 28
Kaitaia
Deliberately run over by her partner

Georgina Manuel. Photo /Supplied
Georgina Manuel. Photo /Supplied

June McGowan
West Auckland
Stabbed to death by her son

Mei Fan, 37
Wellington
Stabbed by her ex-husband

Mei Fan. Photo / Supplied
Mei Fan. Photo / Supplied

*Sarwan Lata, 38
Wellington
Stabbed by her estranged husband

Jasmine Cooper, 26
Te Hana
Beaten, strangled by her ex-partner

2014

Amy Farrall, 24,
Christchurch
Raped and killed by new flatmate

Amy Farrall. Photo / Supplied
Amy Farrall. Photo / Supplied

Sidra Malik, 18
West Auckland
Stabbed by her father who also killed her mother the day before they planned to leave

Farhat Malik, 26
West Auckland
Stabbed by husband she planned to leave the next day

Blessie Gotingco. Photo / Supplied
Blessie Gotingco. Photo / Supplied

Blessie Gotingco, 56
North Shore
Run down in car, raped, stabbed by man unknown to her

*Susan Cleveland, 55
Ashburton
Shot by man known to her through her work at WINZ

*Peggy Noble, 67
Ashburton
Shot by man known to her through her work at WINZ

Bimla Wati, 47
Auckland
Stabbed by her partner

Heidi Welman-Scott. Photo / Supplied
Heidi Welman-Scott. Photo / Supplied

*Heidi Welman-Scott, 41
North Shore
Stabbed by her estranged husband

Sandra Guerin, 55
Upper Hutt
Attacked with axe by her son’s friend

Aileen Macdonald, 69
Napier
Fatally assaulted by her daughter

2015

Ena Lai Dung, 76
Manurewa
Fatally neglected by her daughter and unrelated housemates

Ena Lai Dung. Photo / NZME
Ena Lai Dung. Photo / NZME

Gwendoline Blake, 71
Stratford
Beaten, stabbed by her son

Catherine Stewart, 56
Kapiti
Stabbed by a man known to her

Virginia Ford, 20
Palmerston North
Beaten by her partner

Sherena Williams
Upper Hutt
Stabbed by a man at a party

Katrina Drummond, 47
Taupo
Beaten with a claw hammer by her husband

Katrina Drummond. Photo / Supplied
Katrina Drummond. Photo / Supplied

Davina Nguyen, 49
South Auckland
Stabbed by her boarder

Parmita Rani, 22
Auckland
Stabbed by her partner at her college after she sat an exam

Parmita Rani. Photo / Supplied
Parmita Rani. Photo / Supplied

Vicki Warrington, 48
Dunedin
Stabbed at home by a man known to her

Victoria Foster, 24
Napier
Shot by her ex-partner

Karin Ross, 53
Dunedin
Attacked with hammer by a disgruntled employee

Helen Silverwood, 55
Wellington
Stabbed by her son

2016

Joanne Pert, 41
Auckland
Killed by a random man while jogging in broad daylight on a busy street

Jo Pert. Photo / Supplied
Jo Pert. Photo / Supplied

Cunxiu Tian, 69
West Auckland
Violated, beaten by a man who lived over the back fence

Raewyn Green, 50
Hamilton
Fatal assault by her jealous partner

Tracy-Ann Harris 43
Nelson
Smothered by her niece and friend

Jindarat Prutsiriporn, 50
Auckland
Fatally injured after jumping from a car boot during drug/gang kidnapping

Jindarat Prutsiriporn. Photo / Supplied
Jindarat Prutsiriporn. Photo / Supplied

Sharon Comerford, 54
Seacliff
Bludgeoned by her neighbour

Delia Williams, 55
Wellington
Run over by her abusive partner

Gurpreet Kau, 22
Auckland
Stabbed by her partner while she was pregnant

Queenie Karaka, 41
Atiamuri
Beaten with iron pole by her partner

Heidi Pryor, 37
Wellington
Stabbed by female friend while out jogging

Renee Duckmanton, 22
Christchurch
Strangled, dumped and set alight by sex work client

Renee Duckmanton. Photo Supplied
Renee Duckmanton. Photo Supplied

Ruby Knox, 22
Blenheim
Disabled woman killed by mother

Kim Richmond, 42
Hamilton
Violent attack by her jealous husband who tried to cover it up

Carly Stewart, 36
West Auckland
Stabbed at a “pamper party” by female associate

Linda Edwards, 58
Auckland
Strangled, house set on fire by her son

Marie Harlick 35
Opotiki
Brutal beating by her abusive partner

Marie Harlick. Photo / Supplied
Marie Harlick. Photo / Supplied

2017

Leeanne Hart, 53
North Shore
Fatal beating by her partner

Chozyn Koroheke, 22
South Auckland
Shot by her abusive partner

Chozyn Koroheke. Photo / Supplied
Chozyn Koroheke. Photo / Supplied

Petra Frank, 58
Taupo
Stabbed by her husband

Verity Barber, 40
Invercargill
Shot by her jealous husband who was a police officer

Alicia Nathan, 32
Christchurch
Stabbed at a house party by a woman

Hayley Williams, 43
Greymouth
Shot while her kids were nearby by a man she had earlier accused of an indecent assault

Arishma Chand, 24
Manurewa
Stabbed by her obsessed ex-partner

2018

Anastasia Neve, 35
Dunedin
Beaten and killed along with her partner by associate

Aroha Kerehoma, 28
Hamilton
Beaten by her enraged partner

Robyn Crawford, 37
Opotiki
Stabbed by her late partner’s son while she was pregnant

Ariana Mahu, 37
Tauranga
Stabbed at a marae by a male relative

Nicole Tuxford, 27
Christchurch
Raped and killed by a man she life coached. He was a murderer on parole.

Nicole Tuxford. Photo / Supplied
Nicole Tuxford. Photo / Supplied

Yanyan Meng, 62
Nelson
Strangled by husband while the couple were tourists in New Zealand

Leigh Wallace, 50
Otorohanga
Shot by her on-off partner after counselling session

Lynace Parakuku, 22
Rotorua
Beaten by her drunk, jealous partner while she was pregnant

Keshni Naicker, 28
Christchurch
Stabbed by her jealous ex-husband

Jasmine Wilson, 29
Whanganui
Allegedly killed by abusive partner who remains before the courts

Woman aged 50
Bay of Plenty
Domestic violence-related

Grace Millane, 21
Auckland
UK tourist strangled on her birthday by a man she met hours earlier on a Tinder

Grace Millane. Photo / Supplied
Grace Millane. Photo / Supplied

Xi Wang, 34
South Auckland
Stabbed while holding her small child by her ex-husband who drove from Rotorua

Michelle Hurinui. Photo / Supplied
Michelle Hurinui. Photo / Supplied

Michelle Hurinui, 32
Matamata
Beaten to death on Christmas Eve by her partner

2019

Miriama Raukawa, 45
Whanganui
Stabbed by a man in a violent incident

Noelene Marinovich, 59
West Auckland
Strangled, beaten by son with hammer

Bridget Simmonds, 42
Whangarei
Killed, buried by her ex-partner. Her body was not found for more than a year

Bridget Simmonds. Photo / Supplied
Bridget Simmonds. Photo / Supplied

Edith Roderique, 70
Raumati Beach
Killed by her partner at their retirement village

Ansi Alibava, 25
Christchurch
Shot by gunman while praying at her mosque in the Christchurch terror attack

Husnd Ahmed, 44
Christchurch
Shot by gunman while praying at her mosque in the Christchurch terror attack

Husna Ahmed. Photo / Supplied
Husna Ahmed. Photo / Supplied

Karam Bibi, 63
Christchurch
Shot by gunman while praying at her mosque in the Christchurch terror attack

Linda Armstrong, 64
Christchurch
Shot by gunman while praying at her mosque in the Christchurch terror attack

Linda Armstrong. Photo / Supplied
Linda Armstrong. Photo / Supplied

Lorna-Anne Thompson, 41
Whanganui
Killed by her partner

Taylor-Jade Hira, 29
Hastings
Man charged with murder

Police investigate Taylor-Jade Hira's death. Photo / Warren Buckland
Police investigate Taylor-Jade Hira’s death. Photo / Warren Buckland

Irina Czibesz, 45
Kapiti
Killed by a man she met on online dating site

Feona McKay Patea, 23
Whanganui
Stomped to death by her partner of six months

Woman, aged 30
Central
Domestic violence-related

Grace Virtue, 90
Levin
Home invasion attack by three teenage girls

Azalia Wilson, 22
Invercargill
Beaten by her abusive ex-partner

Crystal Selwyn, 38
Hamilton
Beaten with paving stone by ex-partner in front of their terrified children

Barbara Quinn, 41
Greymouth
Strangled and stabbed by her jealous ex

Bella Te Pania, 34
Christchurch
Strangled by sex work client

2020

Meliame Fisi’ihoi, 57
South Auckland
Mistaken identity shooting, three men before the courts

Meliame Fisi'ihoi. Photo / Givealittle
Meliame Fisi’ihoi. Photo / Givealittle

Sam Reid, 33
Taupo
Beaten by her abusive partner

Tania Hadley, 47
Auckland
Killed, set alight by her boarder

*Shirley Reedy, 52
Te Anau
Strangled by her abusive husband in a motel

Shirley Reedy. Photo / Supplied
Shirley Reedy. Photo / Supplied

Pania Melrose, 57
Te Toko
Killed with a hammer by her partner’s son

Binder Kaur, 42
South Auckland
Husband charged with murder and before the courts

Woman, aged 34
South Auckland
Family violence-related

*Chantel Wiki-O’Brien, 23
South Auckland
Stabbed, set alight by her boyfriend

Elizabeth Zhong, 55
South Auckland
Former male business partner charged and before the courts

Ngawai Himiona, 37
Hamilton
Man charged with murder

2021

Chevana Fox, 29
Napier
Suffered Huntingtons Disease and killed by her mother

Elizabeth Bangera, 55
Auckland
Killed by a man she knew alongside her husband

Kaye Harrison, 73
Wellington
Man known to her charged with murder and before the courts

Lena Zhang Harrap, 27
Auckland
Killed while walking in park in broad daylight. Random man charged with murder

Lena Zhang Harrap. Photo / Supplied
Lena Zhang Harrap. Photo / Supplied

Woman, name suppressed
Waikato
Man charged with murder

Michelle Kaipara, 49
Kawerau
Man known to her charged with murder and before the courts

DO YOU NEED HELP?

If you’re in danger now:

• Phone the police on 111 or ask neighbours of friends to ring for you.
• Run outside and head for where there are other people.
• Scream for help so that your neighbours can hear you.
• Take the children with you.
• Don’t stop to get anything else.
• If you are being abused, remember it’s not your fault. Violence is never okay

Where to go for help or more information:

• Shine, free national helpline 9am- 11pm every day – 0508 744 633 www.2shine.org.nz
• Women’s Refuge: Free national crisis line operates 24/7 – 0800 refuge or 0800 733 843 www.womensrefuge.org.nz
• Shakti: Providing specialist cultural services for African, Asian and middle eastern women and their children. Crisis line 24/7 0800 742 584
• It’s Not Ok: Information line 0800 456 450 www.areyouok.org.nz

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What Is An Obituary

In national newspapers an obituary (obit for short) is a news article that reports the recent death of a prominent person. Although it tends to focus on positive aspects of the subject’s life this is not always the case. According to Nigel Farndale, the Obituaries Editor of The Times: “Obits should be life affirming rather than gloomy, but they should also be opinionated, leaving the reader with a strong sense of whether the subject lived a good life or bad; whether they were right or wrong in the handling of their public affairs.”

In local newspapers, an obituary may be published for any local resident upon death. A necrology is a register or list of records of the deaths of people related to a particular organization, group or field, which may only contain the sparsest details, or small obituaries. Historical necrologies can be important sources of information.