The trial of a mother and father accused of neglecting and sexually assaulting their eight children at a Porirua home has begun.
The case against the pair, who have name suppression to protect the identities of the children, was outlined in the High Court at Wellington on Monday, Fairfax reported.
Two men - known to the children as "uncles" - are also charged in connection to the case.
The four have pleaded not guilty to a total of 51 charges.
As well as neglect and committing sexual offences the 55-year-old father is accused of tying the children, now aged two to 13, to a clothes line at their home and spinning them around, and sexually assaulting three of his daughters with a knife.
The 42-year-old mother is also accused of sexually assaulting both her daughters and son and of watching an "uncle" rape one of the children.
The parents deny all charges and defence lawyers for both told the court although the family was dysfunctional they deny sexual offences or violence took place.
The Crown says the children were feeding themselves and caring for each other, even though the youngest had special feeding needs due to a physical abnormality.
They did not have enough food or adequate clothing, often went to school hungry, and one had scabies when she was seen at hospital after being removed from her parents' care.
The trial is expected to take three weeks.