The Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry Lake Alice Child and Adolescent Unit public hearing starts today in Auckland.

Commissioners will hear from three witnesses. Witness evidence summaries are outlined below.

After a witness speaks, their full evidence, along with footage of them speaking, will be available for download.

The hearing is being live-streamed here.

Hearing location: Level 2, 414 Khyber Pass Road, Newmarket, Auckland 1023.

14 June


Opening statements

11.45am approx.

Hake Halo

Hake Halo is of Niuean descent. He and his parents came to New Zealand when he was six years old. He went to various primary schools, but he felt lost at school without knowing the language and he was put into a special class. After his father passed away, Mr Halo got into trouble at school and was sent to Owairaka Boys Home. He was then admitted to the Lake Alice Child and Adolescent Unit for nine months. Mr Halo’s evidence states that while at Lake Alice, he initially received ECT as a treatment and then received ECT as punishment when he remained conscious as electric current was delivered to his temples. A year after leaving Lake Alice, he was sent to Carrington Hospital. Mr Halo will speak about his experiences being at the centre of the 1977 Mitchell Inquiry. He will discuss the psychiatric and emotional consequences of his experience at Lake Alice and the impact on his relationships and ability to work.

2.15pm approx.

Oliver Sutherland and Ross Galbreath

Dr Sutherland was a founding member of the Auckland Committee on Racism and Discrimination (ACORD) and spent years campaigning and advocating on behalf of many children who were in State care during the 1970s and 1980s. Dr Sutherland will give evidence about how he first met a 13-year-old boy who had been in the Lake Alice Child and Adolescent Unit. Dr Sutherland and fellow ACORD member Dr Ross Galbreath called for a Ministerial Inquiry, which resulted in the 1977 Mitchell Inquiry. ACORD contacted Members of Parliament, psychologists, and investigative journalists to make sure the New Zealand public were made aware of what was happening. He sent a telegram to the Minister of Health describing the allegations he had received from other adolescents at the unit as torture. Dr Sutherland will say the words and actions of ACORD, in drawing attention to the complaints of abuse, ensured that people in power in the 1970s could not say they did not know what was going on at the Lake Alice Child and Adolescent Unit.  

3.45pm approx.

Tony Sutherland (via video link)

Mr Sutherland is a former employee of the New Zealand Police Department. He held various roles from 1965 until mid-1979, including tenure as a Juvenile Crime Prevention Officer (JCPO) and Youth Aid Officer in the Youth Aid division in the 1970s. Mr Sutherland will give evidence relating to the time he spent visiting Holdsworth Boys’ Home as a JCPO where he made attempts to raise concern over the referral process to Lake Alice Child and Adolescent Unit and the relationship between Holdsworth and Lake Alice.

Followed by Craig Jackson (Counsel to present infographic evidence related to Mr Jackson)

Media enquiries: 027 298 2094;

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 care from 1950 and 1999.