Relatives claimed Janet Moses had bruises on her upper arms, forearms and torso which they said would have been caused by someone holding her down.
Ms Moses died at a Wellington suburban house and police said a “large quantity of water was used” in a ritual to lift a makutu, or curse, on her family, The Dominion Post reported.
It was also believed that Ms Moses was held down and forced to drink large amounts of water through the night, and water was also syringed into her eyes.
Up to 40 members of her mother’s family watched the whole incident.
Ms Moses died on Friday, October 12. Her 14-year-old cousin survived the same treatment after an ambulance was called later that day.
When police arrived at the house – they were called eight hours after Ms Moses’ death – water was ankle deep on the floor.
Her father, Gerald Moses, who was at the house the night before she died, said that when he walked in the next day, he sank right through the carpet.
“There wasn’t a dry spot in the place.”
Mr Moses also said there was no kaumatua or tohunga present.
The exorcism rites were conducted by some of Ms Moses’ relatives.
She drowned in her grandfather’s living room about 8am.
A further six people were also “cleansed”, including the 14-year-old cousin. It is understood the other five, aged 14, 15, 16, 29 and 31, were not harmed.