Historic Abuse

The Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand has a duty of care that we take very seriously.

Report abuse

To report or discuss any matter concerning abuse and the Presbyterian Church, contact the Complaints and Disputes Manager.

Complaints of a serious sexual nature or those involving children will always be referred to the Police.


Complaints and Disputes Manager
Anne Edgar
Email - ComplaintsandDisputesManager@presbyterian.org.nz
Free phone - 0800 244 357

Make a complaint

The Presbyterian Church has rules and procedures that have been developed to enable individuals, and the Church, to respond responsibly to any acts of inappropriate or unethical behaviour by a Church office-bearer or member. To make a complaint see here and contact the Complaints Manager as above.

Presbyterian Church policies

See the Presbyterian Church's Code of Ethics and Child Protection policy information.

Preventing abuse

The PCANZ 'Family Violence' website page has links to resources and help services, see it here

The Church & Presbyterian organisations

Q. Are all churches in New Zealand with Presbyterian in their name a church of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand (PCANZ)?

A. Most Presbyterian churches are part of the PCANZ, however there are a small number of independent churches in New Zealand that are not and have never been churches of the PCANZ.

Q. What is the relationship between Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand and Presbyterian Support New Zealand, and Presbyterian schools?

A. The Presbyterian Church was involved in the founding of the organisation that became Presbyterian Support New Zealand, and Presbyterians leaders were involved in the founding of the Presbyterian schools. See more below.

Presbyterian Schools

Presbyterian schools are either independent, private schools or state integrated. Each school has its own founding story, usually featuring some key Presbyterian leaders.

Today, primarily through the Presbyterian Church Schools Resource Office, the Church aims to work with Presbyterian schools to develop and coordinate the provision of resources in-keeping with the Christian and Presbyterian/Reformed character of those schools. Read more about schools.

Presbyterian Support New Zealand

Presbyterian Support New Zealand is an autonomous entity with its own management structures. It is a federation of seven Presbyterian Support organisations which are managed and operated separately.

Concerned with wanting to help those in need, the Presbyterian Church was involved in founding the Presbyterian Social Services Association, which later developed into Presbyterian Support.

Today, a number of Presbyterians churches work with Presbyterian Support regional organisations for social transformation. At a national level, the Presbyterian Church works with Presbyterian Support through PresCare, seeking ways a shared faith and commitment can respond to need in Aotearoa. Read more about Presbyterian Support NZ.


Media release 27 March 2024: Update on Presbyterian Church investigation into claims of historic abuse in Dunedin

"In November 2022 the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand released a media statement on very concerning allegations that had come to its attention when the Church appeared before the Royal Commission into Abuse in Care.
That appearance by the Presbyterian Church was on 19 October 2022. Earlier that day, the Commission had heard from some of the Presbyterian Support organisations, including Presbyterian Support Otago (PSO).
Presbyterian Support Otago was questioned by the Commission regarding a witness who alleged that when she was child residing in PSO’s Dunedin Glendining Presbyterian Children’s Homes in the 1950s she was the victim of a paedophile ring involving Presbyterian church parishioners.
This utterly distressing information came as a complete shock as the Church did not know of these heart-breaking allegations prior. We first heard of them via the Royal Commission. 
The sexual abuse of children is completely abhorrent and is a crime. It is damaging and devastating abuse of trust.
In response to these very troubling allegations, the Church acted. It undertook an independent investigation into the claims of a paedophile ring involving Presbyterian church members in Dunedin – parishioners, ministers, staff...." Read the full media release here.

Media release 4 Nov 2022: Presbyterian Church to launch inquiry into Dunedin historic abuse allegation

"The Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand was alarmed and saddened on 19 October to hear at the Royal Commission public hearing for responses of faith institutions to abuse in care, of an allegation concerning one of Presbyterian Support Otago (PSO) children’s homes and a paedophile ring involving Presbyterian church parishioners.... PSO and the Presbyterian Church are separate organisations... Rev Wayne Matheson, Assembly Executive Secretary of the Presbyterian Church, says the Royal Commission hearing was the first the Presbyterian Church had heard of these shocking allegations.  “Immediately after learning of the allegations at the hearing, the Presbyterian Church began planning an independent investigation into the claims. Terms of Reference have been finalised together with the appointment of a senior King’s Counsel as an independent investigator. Once we have permission from the Royal Commission to allow access to material, our investigator can start her work..." Read the full media release here.