|Cherie Kurarangi Sweeney after the loss of her own son to a tragic accident moved to small town Ngaruawahia to heal. Cherie trying to put back the pieces of her life had no idea what was going to happen next. The house next door was about to lose a child too, little six month old Serenity. This however was no tragic accident, Serenity died because someone had shaken her so violently her tiny body couldn’t take it anymore.|
As you can imagine the loss of a child especially a preventable loss would affect Cherie more than most. Locking herself away for 3 days as all the memories of her own sons passing came flooding back. She mourned for her son and Serenity. Soon the police came knocking.
At first Cherie couldn’t bring herself to talk, but eventually she spoke out. She told the police what she had witnessed as a neighbour. It was the right thing to do, it was the right thing to do for Serenity.
This was seen as ‘narking’ by some members of the community and they retaliated by spray painting NARK on her house and causing her to fear for her safety and that of her family. Cherie asked herself “who am I protecting by being silent?”
Cherie decided to speak up and held two huis in Ngaruawhahia to talk to the community about this anti-narking culture. There she found others that had been too afraid to speak out and others who had been victimised for doing so. “Who do we protect with our silence?” she asked “Who is protecting these children if we are silent?” More had to be done to empower the community to take back their power to protect our Tamariki, our children.
So sitting in the local library (she doesn’t have a computer or internet connection at home) she created a facebook page. STOP Death by Abuse of our children, within a few days this page had over 10,000 members and is still rising! Cherie had overwhelming support from politicians, prominent members of the community and everyday folk all concerned about the welfare of children. It was here that ‘nark’ took on a new meaning…..
Advocates for the Rights of Children"