Survivors of abuse in State-run children’s homes will give evidence before the Abuse in Care Royal Commission from 3 - 11 May in Auckland.
The Inquiry’s State Residential Care investigation is examining abuse and neglect of children and young people in residences run by the State, and by the independent sector on behalf of the State, such as boys’ and girls’ social welfare homes and family homes, and institutions that provided combined care and protection and youth justice care.
This hearing will see survivors from the following Residences give evidence:
- Kohitere Boys Training Centre
- Hokio Beach School
- Epuni Boys Home
- Ōwairaka Boys Home
- Bollard Girls Home
- Whakapakiri Youth Trust (Great Barrier Island)
- Kingslea Girls Homes
- Moerangi Treks, and
- Family Homes throughout Aotearoa New Zealand.
To inform our investigation, the Royal Commission encourages survivors of abuse and neglect in all State residential care homes to come forward and share their experiences with the Inquiry.
The public hearing timetable and witness summaries are below.
MEDIA: To attend a Royal Commission public hearing, you must adhere to our Media Guidelines(external link) which include applying to attend/report before a public hearing – For this hearing you must apply to report by COB 30 April using the form in the Media Guidelines.
Public hearing take place at Level 2, 414 Khyber Pass Road, Newmarket, Auckland 1023 (entrance via Kingdon st).
Media enquiries: 027 298 2094; firstname.lastname@example.org
Timetable and summaries of witness evidence for Abuse in State children’s residential care hearing
The following information is subject to change.
Monday 3 May 2021
Mr X is a 61 year old Samoan who experienced sexual, physical and psychological abuse in care. He suffered physical and sexual abuse from family members and was placed in care as a result of running away from home to escape this. He was placed in Ōwairaka, Hokio, Kohitere and Invercargill Borstal and experienced abuse in all these settings, including extensive periods locked in solitary confinement. Mr X places particular emphasis on the racial discrimination he suffered in these settings because of his Pacific heritage, as well as the lack of education despite being a high achieving student. He will explain the long term impacts of the abuse, which include the loss of his cultural identity, a loss of the Samoan language, and a lack of belonging in early adulthood.
Mr Jarvis is of Māori and Pākeha descent. He will give evidence of suffering severe physical abuse in adopted care, and abuse in State care from the age of 7, including at various Family Homes, sexual abuse in Cherry Farm where he was placed with adults at the age of 9, extensive sexual and violent abuse at Hokio Beach School from the age of 9, and at Holdsworth Boys’ Home from the age of 10. He was deprived of any meaningful education. He will describe the ongoing effects of abuse in care on his life, including the lack of career opportunities, mental health issues and using alcohol as a coping strategy.
Tuesday 4 May 2021
Mr Rei, 47, is Māori (Ngāti Toa Rangatira). He was in care in the Rosendale Family Home in New Plymouth, Hamilton Boys’ Home and Kohitere, from the age of 13 between December 1986 and April 1990. He will give evidence of neglect in the Family Home, the culture of extreme violence from staff and other children at Melville and Kohitere, extensive periods in solitary confinement as punishment, and the lack of education available while he was in State care. Mr Rei will give evidence of the impacts of abuse, including joining a gang at the age of 16, criminal offending, and a diagnosis of PTSD and a Generalised Anxiety Disorder.
Ms T is a 70-year-old Māori woman. She was physically and sexually abused by her father from a young age. At age 13 she was placed in care after her complaint to a Social Welfare officer was not believed. Ms T was placed in family homes, Miramar Girls’ Home and Christchurch Girls’ Home, where she experienced psychological and physical abuse. Social Welfare allowed her father access to her while in care, and he continued to sexually abuse her. Ms T will give evidence of the ongoing impacts of abuse in care, including PTSD symptoms.
Wednesday 5 May 2021
Ms Taru is 70, is Pākeha and identifies as part of the rainbow community. She will give evidence of her experiences in Marycrest and Margaret Street Girls’ Home in Horowhenua in the mid 1960s. Following symptoms of emotional disturbances, she was seen by Dr Pugmire from Lake Alice, prescribed psychiatric medication and transferred to Kingslea Girls’ Home at his recommendation. At Kingslea she was placed in “Clinic”, a set of cells in which she was kept in solitary confinement for several months. Her mental health deteriorated and she was sent to a psychiatric unit for almost a year, where she was given strong medication. She will give evidence of the impact of being isolated, the lack of education, and the abuse she suffered in care.
Ms Rangi is a 58 year old Māori (Ngāpuhi, Te Arawa) woman. She was removed from her family in Kaitaia and taken to Bollard Girls’ Home in Auckland aged 14 after an altercation at school. She was subjected to an internal vaginal examination on arrival at Bollard. She will give evidence of suffering humiliation in the form of having to strip, neglect/psychological abuse in the form of being denied showers, food, water and sanitary products.
Thursday 6 May 2021
Ms Beard is a 59 year old Māori woman of Ngāti Porou and Welsh descent. She was placed in Strathmore Girls’ Home and Kingslea Girls’ Home in Christchurch, and Weymouth in Auckland. She will give evidence of being placed in solitary confinement, and undergoing compulsory internal vaginal medical examinations in each institution. One doctor performing the examination sexually abused her. She will give evidence of the profound impact on her of the trauma she experienced in State care, including her experiences in relationships, and avoiding smear tests as an adult.
Ms Kerepeti is a 59 year old woman of Te Rarawa, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Wai, and Ngāti Mutunga descent. She will give evidence of her experiences of abuse in care from 1974, including physical and sexual abuse in the Dundas Road Family Home. At the age of 13, she was placed in Bollard Girls’ Home, where she underwent an internal medical examination by a male doctor, and was placed in solitary confinement. She was raped by the principal of Bollard, and her medical records confirm that she subsequently had a miscarriage. She also spent two years living on the run, after absconding from Bollard at the age of 14. She will give evidence of the impact of abuse in State care on her life, and the redress process that she undertook with ACC.
Friday 7 May 2021
Ms Ryder is a 53 year old woman of Māori and European descent. Ms Ryder will give evidence of her experiences at The Grange in Remuera in 1980, Bollard Girls Home and the Lloyd Avenue Family Home in 1982. Despite a disclosure to a psychologist of sexual abuse by her father, he was permitted to visit her unsupervised in Bollard, where he continued to sexually abuse her. Ms Ryder will give evidence of her experiences of racism, physical and sexual abuse and solitary confinement in Bollard. She underwent compulsory internal medical examinations at both the Grange and Bollard. She will give evidence of the long term impacts of abuse in care.
PM is a 46 year old Pākehā man who experienced sexual, physical and psychological abuse in care. He was placed in Hamilton Boys’ Home, foster care, Weymouth and Whakapakari. He will give evidence of being placed in a cell for solitary confinement. At Whakapakari he was forced to dig his own grave at gunpoint and was raped by a supervisor. PM will give evidence of the ongoing impacts of abuse in care, including recently having to cease working due to the memories of abuse causing him to be unsafe as a truck driver.
Monday 10 May 2021
Mr Marks is 60 years old and is of English and Māori descent (Ngāti Raukawa). He was taken into care at the age of 8, and experienced serious physical, sexual and psychological abuse in multiple care settings: Epuni, Campbell Park School, Lookout Point, Hokio, Holdsworth, Lake Alice, Ōwairaka and Kohitere. He spent excessive periods locked in solitary confinement from the age of 8, experienced racism, had exessive physical training as punishment and was placed on a trial of amphetamine drugs while in care. He received scant education and was illiterate when he was discharged as a State ward. He will give evidence of the impacts of abuse, including subsequent criminal offending and his inability to pursue meaningful vocations due to his lack of education and admissions to Lake Alice.
Mr Carr is a 39 year old Pākehā man. He was placed in Epuni and Whakapakari on Great Barrier Island from 1998. Mr Carr suffered extreme physical and psychological abuse at Whakapakari, including being placed on “Alcatraz”, an outer island with no shelter. He will give evidence that he suffered violent abuse while at Whakapakari. A supervisor choked Scott and threatened to harm Mr Carr’s mother after staff intercepted a letter to his mother complaining about violent abuse from staff. This letter is included as an exhibit to his statement. Mr Carr suffers anxiety, depression and flashbacks as a result of his abuse.
Tuesday 11 May 2021
Mr U is aged 39, is Māori and affiliates to Ngāti Hako. He will give evidence of being in Weymouth in 1995 and Moerangi Treks for three months in 1995, when he was aged 14. He experienced extensive periods in solitary confinement at Weymouth, and was strip-searched by staff. At Moerangi Treks he experienced extreme violence inflicted by other boys at the instigation of staff, sexual abuse by the wife of the manager, and was threatened by a staff member at gunpoint on one occasion. He was not given medical attention despite serious harm, including concussion. His complaints about Moerangi were investigated by the Police and CYFS in 1995, but the programme was permitted to continue for a further three years. Mr U has been in and out of prison since leaving care, has struggled with drug addiction, and has been diagnosed with PTSD.
Mr Hurring is 60 years old and is of Pākeha, Māori (Ngāi Tahu) and Aboriginal descent. Mr Hurring experienced sexual, physical and psychological abuse in Lookout Point Boys’ Home, Kohitere Training Centre. He wrote a letter of complaint to the Director-General of Social Welfare that was not responded to. Subsequent to being in care, he used drugs and alcohol, and was sentenced to prison. He later obtained employment and had a family. Mr Hurring was eventually diagnosed with PTSD by a forensic psychologist in 2004. He will give evidence of the impacts of abuse, and the redress process. He is now terminally ill. His evidence is pre-recorded.
Mr Wiffin is a 61-year-old Pākehā man has given oral evidence at both the contextual and redress hearings. He was taken into care when he was 10 following the death of his father and was placed in Epuni Boys’ Home and family homes. In his previous evidence he described being sexually abused by a staff member, Alan Moncrief-Wright, over a nine-month period when he was 11. He will give additional evidence of being driven in a van with other boys by Mr Moncrief-Wright to a nearby location where he subsequently became aware boys were selected from the van to be sexually abused. He will also produce records of a restorative justice process he undertook after Mr Moncrief-Wright was convicted of sexual offending against Mr Wiffin and others in 2011. During this process Mr Moncrief-Wright made admissions in relation to the violent and abusive culture at Epuni and discussed inadequacies in the management of the institution and staff that allowed this culture to occur. Mr Wiffin will also speak to current concerns about the management of Epuni.
About the Abuse in Care Inquiry
The Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry is investigating the abuse and neglect that happened to children, young people and vulnerable adults in the care of the State and Faith-based institutions between 1950 and 1999.