New names floated for street and park on site of historic abuses

Radio New Zealand [Wellington, New Zealand]

April 7, 2024

Warning: This story contains details some readers might find distressing.

A street and a park associated with abuse of children and young people are likely to have a name change.

Marylands Place and Marylands Reserve are both on one of two former sites of the notorious Marylands School, in the Christchurch suburb of Middleton.

One in five of the boys who attended the residential school, run by the St John of God brothers, reported being abused there, found an interim report released in 2023 for the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care. It described the institution as ‘hell on earth’.

Next week, a Christchurch City Council community board is to consider a name for the street and park.

Board chairperson Callum Ward said the name change was recommended by the Royal Commission, and it also follows calls from survivors.

“There’s two main options on the table [as the new name for the street], one is Validation, the other is Monarch. Both of those name suggestions were provided by the survivors themselves,” Ward said.

“Survivors spoke of not being believed, or even listened to, for a long time, and they put forward the name Validation. It’s an acknowledgement of their experiences and symbolic of them taking back power over what happened.”

The name Monarch, for the monarch butterfly, is also symbolic to the survivors.

“We’ve worked closely with survivors … to find a name that recognises their experiences, acknowledges the traumatic association of the name, and contributes to puretumu torowhānui, or historic redress,” Ward said.

The changes have been put out for public consultation. If approved, the name change will be made from 4 June.

The city council said it would provide support to businesses on Marylands Place if they are affected by the change.

Where to get help:

Sexual Violence

NZ Police

Victim Support 0800 842 846

Male Survivors Aotearoa

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) 022 344 0496

Rape Crisis 0800 88 33 00

Rape Prevention Education

Empowerment Trust

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