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Hauraki mum-of-three Sara Niethe was killed in Kaihere in 2003. Her body has never been found. Photo: SUPPLIED

Search for Sara Niethe to ‘tighten the net’

A private search will be held over Auckland Anniversary weekend for Sara Niethe, who was murdered in Kaihere in 2003 and whose body has never been found.
Sara, a Hauraki Plains local and mother-of-three, was killed by Mark Pakenham at his Kaihere home almost two decades ago.
In 2013, Pakenham pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of manslaughter after police recorded him saying he had fatally injected methamphetamine into Sara.
Three years later, he was released on parole but has refused to reveal where her body is, claiming that he cannot remember.
Bruce Currie, a private investigator and former Waikato CIB senior detective, is conducting the search with support from Sara’s family, and it will be held at the Kaihere Community Hall, opposite Kaihere School, over January 28-30.
Mr Currie is seeking expressions of interest from volunteers who are available to assist in the search across the three days.
He is in need of: people with current or previous experience with LANDSAR; people with search and rescue backgrounds; people familiar with the Kaihere landscape; people with police/military backgrounds who are familiar with searching techniques; as well as any fit and able persons who can conduct general searches as directed. People are also invited to help with transport, food, and refreshments.
“[Sara’s] body has been concealed for 20 years, and there’s also a vehicle involved that has disappeared off the face of the planet,” Mr Currie said at a public meeting last month.
“We’ve got to the point where there’s a good reason to believe that Pakenham disposed of the vehicle and of Sara in the immediate area in Kaihere.”
If Pakenham disposed of Sara and the vehicle – a 1987 Honda Civic hatchback – on his own, likely signs pointed to her being located somewhere within the dispersed township, which sits on State Highway 27, he said. Mr Currie is therefore appealing to farmers, hunters, and former and local residents who may know a place Pakenham would be able to conceal a body for close to two decades.
He told The Profile he was optimistic about the search, and that the case not only “lives within” him, but within the police officers who were first involved back in the 2000s.
“The idea of the search is to eliminate areas,” he said.
“To tighten the net”.
DETAILS: The private search for Sara will be conducted over Auckland Anniversary weekend, January 28-30 at Kaihere. To register, email Bruce Currie at or txt 027 844 1349 giving your particulars, including contact number.