Hawkes Bay App | Bay family of missing woman welcome review of police investigation

Download the Hawkes Bay App for more stories like this.

Bay family of missing woman welcome review of police investigation

Missing woman Jamie Kaiwai (centre) pictured a few years ago with Jonique Oli-Alainu'uese (left) and sister Liana Kaiwai. (Photo: supplied)

Bay family of missing woman welcome review of police investigation

By Astrid Austin, AustinMedia

Wednesday, January 08, 2020 1:45 PM


The Hawke’s Bay family of a missing Gisborne woman have welcomed a decision by police to review their investigation into her disappearance.

However, they believe that had a “proper investigation been carried out earlier” Jamie Kaiwai may have been found by now.

The mother of one has been missing for more than 90 days. She was last seen in Tolaga Bay on the beach, by the wharf, on the evening of Friday, October 11 last year. Her vehicle was found at the wharf carpark, with the keys still in the ignition.

While an extensive search by emergency services and police took place, mainly centred around the sea and river, any foul play was quickly ruled out. And with police having “no further lines of enquiry,” her family – who are adamant something more sinister has occurred – were left to continue the search themselves.

Kaiwai’s cousin, Jonique Oli-Alainu'uese, wife of Hastings District Councillor Peleti Oli, said it was her mental health issues that “immediately convinced” police it was suicide.

“This was their first and most crucial mistake,” she said.

She also believes Kaiwai’s phone was used “after the day police thought she had committed suicide”.

Oli-Alainu'uese has been updating police throughout the four months but doesn't think the investigation has gone far enough and hopes to find new evidence pointing to the truth.

“Their lack of thorough investigation to rule out foul play, has cost my family precious time and prolonged despair,” she said.

“Time that I then had to make up by investigating myself, to find enough information just to get police to look again.”

Every day this past week her family have searched around Tolaga Bay and surrounding areas. “But there is still so much to go,” Oli-Alainu'uese said.

They believe she is close to Tolaga Bay, 10-30km North.

Oli-Alainu'uese and her family have been using social media extensively to ask for help In their search.

They hope that further investigation will uncover what is needed to locate her.

“I have to have faith that she will be found, so I can’t think about if time has lapsed and it’s too late.”

Gisborne Police Detective Sergeant Daniel Kirk said while they understand Kaiwai’s family and friends' significant frustration with all the unanswered questions regarding her disappearance, “unfortunately, some of the information that's being circulated is inconsistent with the facts gathered through our investigation”.

Throughout their investigation police spoke to her relatives and close friends to establish her movements and other relevant details before she went missing.

Kirk said the investigation has been handled by a team of dedicated investigators from the Criminal Investigation Branch and is currently being reviewed by a senior investigator.

“This is a standard practice with all missing person investigations when the missing person has not been located despite our best efforts,” Kirk added.

“Police are always willing to hear from anyone who has any information that may assist us in following credible lines of enquiry.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 06 877 0609 quoting job number 191014/3116.


If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.


• 0800 543 354 (0800 LIFELINE) or free text 4357 (HELP) (available 24/7)

• https://www.lifeline.org.nz/services/suicide-crisis-helpline

• YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633

• NEED TO TALK? Free call or text 1737 (available 24/7)

• KIDSLINE: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)

• WHATSUP: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)


Contact Us