10 Aug 2015

LA Tukerangi is recovering, says father

1:18 pm on 10 August 2015

The father of an Auckland teenager who went missing for nearly a week says she is improving every day now that she is back home.

LA Tukerangi, 15, was found in the eastern Bay of Plenty last Thursday with Dean Whakatau, 36, after she texted family the previous weekend saying she had been kidnapped.

Chris Tukerangi

Chris Tukerangi Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

Whakatau, who was wanted for breaching a release order, was arrested and will appear in court next week.

LA's father, Chris Tukerangi, said his daughter was traumatised but was safe at home now.

"She's a real fighter, everyday she gets happier and stronger. She went through tough times, so we definitely have to take it day by day."

LA Tukerangi

LA Tukerangi was missing for nearly a week. Dean Whakatau (inset) will appear in court next week. Photo: NZ Police

Mr Tukerangi said the family was not interested in Whakatau's court appearance and was instead focusing on LA's welfare.

The police said their investigation was continuing.