CHRISTCHURCH (NEW ZEALAND)
New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference [Wellington, New Zealand]
November 3, 2021
The Catholic Church in Aotearoa New Zealand welcomes the announcement today by the Royal Commission into Abuse in Care of dates for hearing evidence about abuse at the Marylands School and Hebron Trust in Christchurch.
The Royal Commission today announced that it has scheduled six days in February 2022 for the hearings.
Marylands was a residential school for children with learning difficulties, run between the mid-1950s and 1984 by the Hospitaller Brothers of St John of God, a Catholic religious institute. Hebron was a later organisation for troubled youths run by a St John of God brother.
Catherine Fyfe, chair of Te Rōpū Tautoko – the group coordinating Catholic engagement with the Royal Commission – welcomed the announcement and said the St John of God Brothers and Tautoko have been working supportively and diligently since last year to co-operate with the inquiry on Marylands.
“We have been working with the Royal Commission to ensure that our response has been as timely and comprehensive as possible, to honour those harmed at Marylands,” Ms Fyfe said.
“We see this inquiry and the wider work of the Royal Commission as a way for the Catholic bishops and religious congregations to positively engage in this important process of listening, acknowledging, learning, and reaffirming our commitment to safeguarding the vulnerable in society.”
The New Zealand Catholic bishops and congregational leaders sought to have the Church included in the work of the Royal Commission, which when first established was limited to abuse of children in state care.
Ms Fyfe reinforced the Church’s ongoing encouragement to survivors of abuse in the care of the Catholic Church to share their experiences with the Royal Commission.