Couple discover they were robbed of thousands of dollars’ worth of meat, and two placentas they were storing after the birth of their twin sons.

Hayley Thorpe and her partner Sheldon Smith had just returned home from a Christmas holiday on Monday January 2, when they decided to go down to their downstairs freezers to grab some venison out for dinner, reports Daily Mail.

But they were shocked to find both freezers had been completely emptied of their contents, including the placentas of their eight-month-old twin boys Koby and Jayden, Stuff reported.

The family, who live in Te Akau on New Zealand’s North Island, said the discovery was especially devastating because placentas carried spiritual meaning to the Maori people.

In the Maori culture it is customary to bury the placenta in the ground to symbolise a physical and spiritual link to the earth.

‘To steal a placenta – especially in the Maori culture – is a pretty big deal,’ Ms Thorpe said.

‘I was really gutted… [I] had a bit of a cry.’

The family planned to follow that tradition and bury the placentas at a family farm on the twins’ first birthday.

‘That won’t happen now,’ she said.

Ms Thorpe said the bag with the placentas was clearly marked identifying what was inside so had no doubt the offenders knew what they had taken – if not during the robbery then afterwards.

She said the meat, which she estimated was worth thousands of dollars, did not matter to the family, she simply wanted the placentas returned.

She said both her and her husband were shocked by the strange circumstances surrounding the robbery.

While the two freezers were emptied of their contents, she said nothing else had been touched, including fishing gear, motorbikes, and beer – all within reaching distance of the freezers.


What a horrible thing to do!

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Related story – MUST READ: The beautiful tradition for a Maori placenta

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  • It is Maori Tradition to store the placenta and bury it in their garden on the child’s first birthday.
    That is why it stored in their parents’ freezer. The placentas are those of twins which makes it even more tragic.


  • Not only can I see no reasonable reason to keep a placenta, its even harder to think why someone would steal it!


  • Terrible shock to the owners – guess the robbers didn’t realise what they were stealing.


  • They probably didn’t realise what they took and thought it was food.


  • Of course I hope the placenta’s will be returned but sadly there is no honesty in thieves and no respect for somebody else property. So sorry Hayley & Sheldon !


  • This is so horrible. I don’t understand how people could be so mean. At least leave the placentas on the doorstep If you realised you took them along with he meat


  • they probably didn’t realise what they had taken then didn’t know what to do when they did figure it out. What a horrible thing to happen!


  • A horrible experience and loss for this family.

    • Sadly they will most likely not get them back.


  • I have been to North Island of New Zealand after my dad died. Its a crying shame that people don’t leave other people stuff alone. I hope the placenta will be returned.


  • When they took it, they surely didn’t know what it was. So sad for this family!! :-(


  • What low lives! Sad to think what they would have done when they discovered what they actually took ????


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