The woman known as the primary caregiver of murdered toddler Arapera Fia and who admitted a charge of manslaughter, can now be named as her mother.
Nikitalove Brampton Tekotia, 23, was looking after 2-year-old Arapera in November 2021 with her partner Tyson Brown.
On the eve of her trial, she pleaded guilty to Arapera’s manslaughter by failing to protect her from injury, she gave evidence for the Crown against Brown, who was found guilty of Arapera’s murder.
She then sought again to continue to keep her name a secret, which Justice David Johnstone declined, ordering for it to expire on November 10. The Court of Appeal confirmed to Stuff no appeal had been filed.
Tekotia is set to be sentenced later this year.
Tekotia and Arapera’s father Malcolm Fia met while they were studying together back in September 2016.
He was “surprised, shocked and happy” when he found out Tekotia was pregnant and worked long hours to ensure he could provide for his daughter.
“She was a cheerful baby. She brightened everyone’s day with just her smile,” Fia said at trial.
The pair eventually parted ways in February 2021 and he moved out before she started seeing Brown.
Arapera’s final days
In the months leading up to Arapera’s death, Tekotia began retreating from her family after disagreements. Brown and Tekotia had been in an off-and-on again relationship and then the Covid-19 lockdown struck. Stress levels heightened.
On one occasion Fia was called after Tekotia’s mother didn’t like the way Brown had discipling Arapera.
“I tried to get my hands on him…Nikitalove was defending him and my daughter was scared of him,” Fia said.
In the week before Arapera died, flatmates became increasingly concerned about the little girl. They noticed bruises, heard Brown yelling and the toddler crying.
Their concerns were raised with Arapera’s father, Arapera’s grandmother and other relatives.
Tekotia even made a TikTok video with Arapera standing in the background looking emotionless, with visible bruising on her face. She told the court at trial she couldn’t remember seeing the bruises.
Brown also took a video of Arapera with bruises, cuts on her face with her eyes filled with tears. He deleted that video shortly after.
“She is clearly upset and scared,” Justice Johnstone said.
The days leading up to Arapera’s death were undoubtedly stressful. Brown tested positive for Covid-19 and was required to isolate at the Gibbons Rd property.
Tekotia took Arapera to a testing station and threw the little girl “like a rugby ball” into the back seat. She repeatedly denied this.
No one is likely ever to find out what exactly happened on the last day of Arapera’s life. The flatmates heard Brown yelling and screaming and Arapera standing outside in the cold with her face against the porch.
Tekotia said Arapera fell off a slide that day and hit her head.
Multiple text messages were exchanged between Tekotia and flatmate Kiana Funaki. Tekotia said Brown blamed her for everything.
At one point on that afternoon, Tekotia took a phone call from health services, advising she’d tested positive for Covid-19. She was on the phone for 30 minutes and some time in that period the Crown said Brown fatally assaulted Arapera.
At about 5.30pm the pair began searching online about how to wake someone from a deep sleep.
The pair also searched how to wake up someone from being knocked out and how long can a baby be concussed for.
The searches continued through till 7.54pm. It wasn’t until 8.05pm that 111 was called.
An intensive care paramedic was immediately concerned and suspicious after noticing bruises all over Arapera’s body. The police were called.
Shortly after midnight, Arapera was pronounced dead.
In the early hours of November 1, after Arapera had been pronounced dead, the pair were checked into a managed isolation facility.
Within 30 minutes of getting into her room, the primary caregiver received a call from Brown.
Brown told the primary caregiver he had shaken Arapera when he was dressing her as she was tugging, the court heard.
“After he told me that, I was numb. I didn’t know what to say or what to do. I just wanted to die. I didn’t want to be there anymore. I felt like it was my fault.”
A number of intercepted phone calls and messages between the pair were played in court, where Brown tells the caregiver he loves her and he blames himself.
“Baby I hope you know… that if I did hurt her, it wasn’t to the point where she died of she was to be killed from it. I’m not a murderer,” Brown tearfully tells Tekotia.
‘My precious princess’
After Brown was found guilty, Arapera’s father, Malcolm Fia said as painful it is to think of her final moments, he wants to celebrate the 2-year-old and be her voice.
“Justice was served today and it’s not going to bring her back but only the memories I share with her I will forever cherish,” Malcolm Fia said.
Malcolm Fia sat quietly through every day of the trial.
“I have come to understand and learn that the death of my beautiful daughter Arapera’s was done in an inhumane way, it’s too late to do anything she’s gone now and resting in heaven,” Malcolm said.
“I didn’t get to a chance to see her go off to her high school years, been able to see her dress up in her formal dress and doll up even walking her down the aisle on her wedding day.
“So many thoughts are running through my head and some I pray to the man above to help me get through it,” he said.
Malcolm hoped the death of his “precious princess” will help other families and friends in abusive and unhealthy environments to seek help.
“It’s never too late to ask for help. My daughter didn’t deserve to leave this cruel world like this. My heart and my soul left the day I got the call she was gone. I love you Arapera in this life and the next.”
At Brown’s sentencing, Malcolm faced the killer and spoke of the pain of having to dress Arapera for her funeral.
“It took me about 10 minutes just to enter the room, standing at the door crying…
”I just kept talking to her, telling her I was so sorry that I wasn’t there to protect her. It was just so hard to process her not being around,” Fia said.
https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/301005482/arapera-fias-mother-can-now-be-named-as-the-woman-who-failed-to-protect-her-from-being-killed.html Arapera Fia’s mother can now be named as the woman who failed to protect her from being killed