Young Wainuiomata woman Janet Moses died as a result of accidental drowning by way of manslaughter, Wellington regional coroner Ian Smith has found.
Ms Moses died during an attempted exorcism, and Mr Smith recommended whanau instead consult experts when they suspected a makutu or curse had been placed on a family member.
His finding came almost a year after five members of the 22-year-old woman’s family were sentenced for their parts in her death, on October 12, 2007, in the Lower Hutt suburb.
An uncle and four aunts were convicted of the manslaughter of Ms Moses, whom they believed was cursed.
In the High Court at Wellington on August 14 last year, Justice Simon France made it a condition of their community-based sentences that all five whanau members undertake tikanga Maori or similar cultural programmes.
At the end of a six-week trial John Tahana Rawiri, 50, and his sisters Glenys Lynette Wright, 53, Aroha Gwendoline Wharepapa, 49, Angela Orupe, 47, and Tanginoa Apanui, 43, were found guilty of drowning Ms Moses in a bizarre effort to rid her of what they believed to be a makutu or curse.
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