The Cris and Cru Kahui homicides are about the tragic deaths of twin brothers, Christopher Arepa and Cru Omeka Kahui, who passed away at Auckland’s Starship Children’s Hospital due to severe head injuries. The infants were admitted to the hospital and despite efforts to save them, they couldn’t be saved. Initially, their family refused to cooperate with the police during the investigation into the murders. The father, Chris Kahui, who was 21 years old at the time, was charged with their murder. During the trial, Kahui’s defense claimed that the mother, Macsyna King, was responsible for the deaths. Surprisingly, the jury acquitted Kahui in just one minute after a six-week trial. In July 2012, a coroner’s report was released, stating that the injuries leading to the children’s deaths occurred while they were under the sole custody and care of their father.
Chris and Cru Kahui were premature triplets born on 20 March 2006 through an emergency caesarean section at the National Women’s Hospital in Grafton, New Zealand. Their parents were Christopher Sonny Kahui and Macsyna Pono King. At the time of their birth, King was 29 years old, while Kahui was 21. The couple already had a 13-month-old son named Shane, who was born in 2005. Prior to their relationship, King had three other children from previous relationships and met Kahui through his father when she was 27 and he was 19. However, their relationship was fraught with difficulties, and various risk factors contributed to tension and instability before and after the birth of their children.
After their premature birth, Cris and Cru spent six weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit at Kidz First, Middlemore Hospital. During this time, concerns were informally raised by nurses and social workers at the hospital to a representative from the New Zealand Department of Child, Youth and Family Services (CYF) because the parents didn’t spend much time with the twins. Although the parents’ lack of visitation wasn’t considered child abuse, it raised concerns. As the infants were still officially under the care of Middlemore Hospital, hospital staff regularly visited the family home. During their final visit, Chris and Cru appeared healthy and well-fed. However, an autopsy later revealed that the infants had previously suffered fractured ribs before sustaining the fatal injuries.
On 13 June 2006, upon returning home after a night of partying, King discovered extensive bruises on the twins. It was also discovered that their grandfather, William “Banjo” Kahui, had performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on them. Police confirmed that Banjo wasn’t the only person present in the house at that time. According to former MP John Tamihere, members of Chris Kahui’s extended family mentioned that a young relative, whose identity they refused to disclose, was taking care of the infants when they sustained their fatal injuries. King and Kahui took their children to their family doctor, who immediately recommended hospitalization for the infants. The coroner’s report stated that Kahui refused to take the children to the hospital, fleeing from the family car and leaving a distressed King to carry the twins into the hospital on her own.
Medical examinations revealed severe brain injuries in the infants. Both had skull fractures from blunt force trauma, and Cris had a broken femur. An orthopaedic specialist mentioned that intentionally breaking a baby’s femur would require bending the bone at a 90-degree angle, ruling out accidental causes for the injury. Upon the infants’ transfer to Starship Children’s Hospital, the staff alerted the police. The Department of Child, Youth and Family Services removed Shane and their six-month-old female cousin, Cayenne, from two rented Housing New Zealand homes where Cris and Cru had lived. The police reported that the children were treated for injuries resulting from neglect, showing signs of malnourishment and poor hygiene. Although the two children were scheduled to be returned to the family in September 2006, neither the parents nor Kahui’s family members, who consistently refused to cooperate with the police, were permitted to be their caregivers.
Cris and Cru were ultimately taken off life support, with Cru passing away first at 5 a.m. on 18 June, followed by Cris at 6:45 p.m. later that day. The family received the bodies on 21 June and held a tangihanga (funeral rites) at the Manurewa marae. The twins were laid to rest at Manukau City cemetery on