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

Witness evidence summaries are outlined below. Please note the earlier than usual start time.

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

The hearing is being live-streamed on the Abuse in Care website.

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

9.30am approx.

Donald Ku, survivor witness

Donald Ku is 58 years old and of Ngāti Maniapoto and Tūwharetoa descent. He had two different admissions to Lake Alice, spending over two months in total in the Child and Adolescent Unit. During his first admission, he was one of the youngest patients in the unit. He was the victim of sexual abuse by staff members, physical abuse, and electroconvulsive therapy. He also received discriminatory treatment due to being Māori. He will give evidence about how severely his life was affected after Lake Alice, including leading to becoming a patched gang member by age 25. Mr Ku will also speak about his personal trauma, disconnection from his Māori culture, and the intergenerational impact of having his children taken into State care.

11.15am approx.

Alan Hendricks, survivor witness

Alan Hendricks is a 59-year-old survivor of Lake Alice. He attended the Lake Alice Child and Adolescent Unit between 1974 and 1975 where he was subjected to drug injections as punishment for misbehaving, as well as threats of electroconvulsive therapy. Mr Hendricks will give evidence about his pathway into Lake Alice and the aftermath of his experience there, including his involvement in the redress process as a claimant who was represented by Grant Cameron.

1.45pm approx.

Fred Rawiri, survivor witness (via video link)

Fred Rawiri is a 60-year-old man of Māori descent who now resides in Australia. Prior to his admission to the Lake Alice Child and Adolescent Unit, he was sent to Hamilton Boys’ Home and Hokio Beach School. Due to loneliness, he was given a psychiatric assessment and subsequently sent to Lake Alice. Here, he received electroconvulsive therapy to the head and genitals, and he received paraldehyde as punishment for misbehaving. Mr Rawiri will give evidence on his life after Lake Alice, including redress, coping with stigma and how his emotional trauma impacts his everyday life.

3.15pm approx.

Ms CC, widow of former patient

Ms CC is the partner of a Lake Alice Child and Adolescent Unit survivor who is now deceased. Prior to admission to Lake Alice, Ms CC’s partner experienced physical abuse by his carer, before being sent to Owairaka Boys Home, Hokio Beach School and Kohitere Boys’ Training Centre. Once at Lake Alice, he experienced sexual and physical abuse, electroconvulsive therapy and seclusion. On departure from Lake Alice, he was sent to Waikeria Borstal and spent time in and out of prison. He also applied for redress through Grant Cameron and Sonja Cooper. Ms CC gives evidence on what she knows of her partner’s early life and the impact this had on their relationship and family. 

Media enquiries: 027 298 2094; media@abuseincare.org.nz

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.