Topic: Australia

Melbourne Police search for missing girls taken by father

By Maiki Sherman

Today marks five weeks since four sisters went missing in Australia after being taken by their father.

The girls are of Rongowhakaata and Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki descent and they are grandchildren of former Māori broadcaster Maihi Nikora.

Shared custody had been arranged between Nikora's daughter, Stacey Smith who is the children's mother and their father.  The girls have been missing for five weeks.

Charity-Beth is the eldest at 11 years old, Evergreen 8, Summer 3 and baby one-year-old Serenity.

"It's been very hard.  It's been up and down and you know you still got to get on with day-to-day life and work and stuff and that's good when it distracts you but sometimes the pressure just gets too much because you just don't know where they are," explained Smith.

The girls were taken from school and day-care by their father, Joseph Smith on October 27.  Apart from e-mails they haven't been seen since. The family have set up a Facebook page but say Police response has been slow given neither parent has sole custody.

Te Kāea spoke to the Werribee Police Station in Melbourne who confirmed the children's names have been added to the missing persons list.

Maihi Nikora says he's concerned for the welfare of the children, particularly the oldest Charity-Beth who has respiratory problems.

Later this month, Stacey Smith is taking two hearings before the courts regarding an intervention order and recovery order.  

Melbourne Police are now looking for Joseph Smith.

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