Iraena Te Rama Awhina Asher, born on 17 July 1979, was a trainee teacher and model from Auckland who vanished under controversial circumstances on 11 October 2004 at Piha, a beach located in West Auckland.
On 10 October 2004, Asher reportedly spent time at her new boyfriend’s residence in Piha. At 9 pm that evening, she contacted the New Zealand Police using the emergency telephone number 1-1-1, expressing concerns for her safety.
Although the police had the option to dispatch a patrol car to address the situation, they opted to arrange a taxi for Asher instead. The police later stated that individuals sometimes falsely use emergency calls to secure a free ride home in a police vehicle. However, in this case, a taxi was sent but mistakenly went to the wrong street in Onehunga, located on the opposite side of the city from Piha. Later, Asher was found wandering the streets by a couple from Piha, Julia Woodhouse and Bobbie Carroll, who took her into their home for several hours. She departed from their residence at 1:10 am and was subsequently spotted by others, partially clothed, heading towards the beach. Before anyone could approach her, she fled. This sighting represents the last known instance of her being seen.
Asher’s family informed the police that she was afflicted with bipolar disorder.
In May 2005, a memorial service was held for Asher by her family, who expressed to attendees that if the police had responded appropriately to her emergency call, she might still be alive. Asher’s parents, Betty and Mike Asher, reportedly contemplated initiating legal action against the New Zealand Police for unspecified reasons. However, they never proceeded with any legal proceedings.
On 17 July 2012, an inquest into Asher’s disappearance commenced. The police investigation concluded that she likely drowned. During the inquest, the coroner criticized Woodhouse and Carroll for not personally contacting the police. Subsequently, the High Court determined that the assertion suggesting their failure to contact the police contribute