11 Aug 2008

Nine to stand trial over 'curse-lifting' death

stuff.co.nz New Zealand
August 11, 2008

Nine people charged with the manslaughter of a woman who drowned during an alleged curse lifting ceremony have been committed for trial in the High Court at Wellington.

The nine people, including family members of Janet Moses, who was killed at a relative's home in Wainuiomata in October last year, all pleaded not guilty.

Lawyers for the nine agreed at a depositions hearing in the Lower Hutt District Court, before two Justices of the Peace , that there was a case to answer.

Name suppression was continued for the six women and three men, and for a 10th person, a man charged with cruelty to a child, after a 14 year-old girl was injured at the same ceremony.

At an earlier hearing, a lawyer for one of the accused said the case involved sensitive cultural issues and argued the defendants faced potential public vilification if their identities were revealed.

The JPs accepted police evidence in the form of 98 written statements and 40 exhibits.

Ms Moses was reported to have drowned during an apparent exorcism at her grandparents' home in Wainuiomata on October 12 last year while around 40 members of her family were present.

The trial has been set down for September 22.

This article was found at:


Girl's eyes gouged to get rid of devil

Catholic Church downplays talk of the devil in public but maintains international network of exorcists

1 comment:

  1. Wainuiomata exorcism film to premiere at New Zealand International Film Festival

    by CHLOE WINTER, http://www.stuff.co.nz/ June 12 201

    A film that claims to "lift the veil of secrecy" on one of Wellington's most bizarre manslaughter cases will premiere at this year's New Zealand International Film Festival.

    Belief: The Possession of Janet Moses takes a close look at the death of young mother Janet Moses, who drowned during an attempted exorcism in Wainuiomata in 2007.

    The 88-minute documentary drama is described as a "tragic love story", which producer David Stubbs hoped would help people understand what happened over four nights in October 2007.

    "This is a cautionary tale that I hope starts conversations around where spirituality sits in our community, and why many beliefs are still held secret."

    The family of 22-year-old Moses believed she had a makutu, or Maori curse, on her as a result of the theft of a concrete lion from a Wairarapa pub about two weeks earlier.

    Her family surrounded her "in a circle of love", and subjected the mother of two to four days and four nights of water cleansing in an effort to rid her of the curse.

    Five relatives were given community sentences for their role in the ceremony during which Moses died.

    "The reason I called it Belief is because the family genuinely believed that she was cursed and had a demon inside her, and they still do," Stubbs said.

    "This film sheds light on their experiences and what was going in their heads."

    Moses drowned and another family member, who was 14 at the time, had injures to her eyes, as people picked at the demons they saw in them.

    Stubbs, who grew up in Wainuiomata, decided to make the film because so many big questions remained unanswered.

    "A cloud of shame hung over the community ... and I wanted to get as close as I could to Janet's truth, and her whanau's truth.

    "[But] Belief is not an investigation, and does not aim to vilify or blame ... Janet's family acted out of love, not malice, and we had to honour that in telling their story."

    The film features interviews by Detective Inspector Tusha Penny, psychiatrist Rees Tapsell, cultural adviser and Ngati Awa kaumatua Pouroto Ngaropo, Tuhoe spokesman Tamati Cairns, Massey University cult researcher Heather Kavan, and Crown prosecutor Grant Burston.

    None of the family appears on film, and their roles are played by actors. "I've spoken to them, but they don't appear in the documentary," Stubbs said. "They weren't averse to it and they didn't try and stop it."

    Janet Moses is played by Kura Forrester, who also starred in the New Zealand TV series Auckland Daze; her uncle John Tahana Rawiri is played by William Davis; her aunty Glenys Lynette Wright is played by Tina Cook; and the 14-year-old girl is played by Hariata Moriarty.