Relatives of a woman who has been dead for six years are
devastated her name was released to media in a list of people
wanted by police.
Former Waihi resident Helen Maree Meldrum died suddenly on
November 23, 2007, at the age of 36 while living in
But her name was last week released to the Bay of Plenty
Times by the Ministry of Justice in a list of people with
arrest warrants dating back nine years or more.
Family members would not elaborate on the circumstances of
The warrant was issued by the Waihi District Court for a
breach of community work in 2004.
Waikato police communications manager Andrew McAlley also
confirmed she was wanted and was believed to be residing in
The Bay of Plenty Times learned of Ms Meldrum's death when a
friend of hers contacted the paper this week.
Mother Joyce Meldrum, who lives in Australia, said it was
upsetting to learn of the mistake as she had no idea her
daughter had been wanted by the police.
"It's devastating," she said. "I'm quite upset. I didn't even
know anything about it. She used to take in all these
deadbeats that she felt sorry for and it got her in with the
wrong crowd. She was a really lovely person. She just went
astray for a few years. I'm really quite in shock."
Ms Meldrum moved to Australia about 2003, she said.
She was concerned Ms Meldrum's son, who still lives in the
Bay of Plenty, and other family members in the Waikato would
be upset if they read of it in the news.
Ms Meldrum's daughter, who lives in Queensland, did not know
about the outstanding warrant either.
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said she was still in the
system because her death had not been registered with
agencies in New Zealand.
"We regret any distress we caused the family," he said. "It
simply is because she died outside the country."
The Ministry of Justice case management system was reconciled
with the New Zealand births, deaths and marriages register to
keep track of those with outstanding matters, he said.
A Department of Internal Affairs spokesman said a person's
death, marriage or birth was generally registered in the
country it occurred in regardless of their citizenship. That
meant the death of a New Zealand citizen in Australia was
unlikely to be recorded by authorities in New Zealand.
A police spokeswoman said police could not comment on the
issue as the police role was to execute warrants issued by
the courts and act on the information they provided.
2004 - Arrest warrant issued for Helen Maree Meldrum in the
Waihi District Court after she breached a community work
2007 - Helen Maree Meldrum dies on November 23.
2013 - Helen Maree Meldrum's name features in a list of
wanted people released to the Bay of Plenty Times.
- Amy McGillivray of the Bay of Plenty Times