Friday, 1 September 2023 - 9:10am

Remembering Kirsa – 40 years on

2 min read

News article photos (4 items)

Kirsa Jensen, who disappeared while out riding her horse in Napier in 1983.
Then-Detective Inspector Ian Holyoake with District Commander Kevin Ford and Commissioner Bob Walton at the gun emplacement on 2
Reconstruction of Commodore tied to the gun emplacement.
Former Assistant Commissioner Ian Holyoake (right) and retired Detective Inspector Ross Pinkham with Kirsa's mother Robyn Jensen

This month marks the 40th anniversary of one of New Zealand’s most enduring murder mysteries - the disappearance of Napier schoolgirl Kirsa Jensen.

Kirsa riding Commodore.

Fourteen-year-old Kirsa went missing while riding her horse Commodore after school along the beachfront in Awatoto, Napier, on 1 September 1983. Her disappearance sparked a large Police investigation.

She was last seen with her horse at an old gun emplacement on Napier's waterfront.

Kirsa’s body has never been found and no-one has ever been charged in relation to her disappearance.

The file remains open and is held by Detective Sergeant Daryl Moore. He says they still receive information about the case from members of the public two to three times a year.

“Someone might think of something, or finally come forward after feeling like something doesn’t sit right with them," he says. "We investigate all the information to see if it helps the case."

Three years ago, Kirsa's file, along with several other cold cases, were digitised by Eastern District Police. Daryl says putting all the data in an investigation into the Information Management Tool saves it in one place for centralised access.

“We can then easily cross-reference new information to see if it is in fact new, or links to other information we already have."

Retired Assistant Commissioner Ian Holyoake led the inquiry and from time to time visits the memorial to Kirsa at the last place she was seen. He still looks around, wondering if there’s anything he missed.

Ian, along with Daryl, Detective Inspector Ross Pinkham, who was OC Suspects, and other officers who worked on the case plan to meet at the memorial today (1 September) to remember Kirsa. Her mother Robyn has joined them in the past, and this year members of the Jensen family may attend.

Ian says it is a case that has really affected him. 

“I have never forgotten Kirsa Jensen, and I never will. I always live in hope that someone, someday will say something that will lead us to where she is, which would bring some relief and closure for the family."