Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care
The Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand is fully committed to working with the Royal Commission.
In 2018, the Presbyterian Church’s Moderator wrote to the NZ Government asking it to extend the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care to include faith-based organisations.
The Church is assisting the Royal Commission by supplying information from its records that may be relevant to the Inquiry.
Contact the Royal Commission
Protestant and Other Faiths Investigation
On 11 April 2022, The Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry announced it was extending its Anglican investigation to include the Methodist, Presbyterian and Salvation Army faiths, and that this will be known as the 'Protestant and Other Faiths Investigation'.
The Protestant and Other Faiths Investigation will be reported on in the Royal Commission’s Faith Interim Report, to be presented to the Governor General before June 2023. See the Royal Commission’s new Protestant and Other Faiths scope document here.
Faith-based institutions response hearing
The responses of faith institutions was examined by the Royal Commission of Inquiry during a final public hearing, from 13 to 21 October. The Commission heard from the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand, represented by Rev Wayne Matheson - Assembly Executive Secretary, on the afternoon of Wednesday 19 October 2022.
Media release: Presbyterian Church to launch inquiry into Dunedin historic abuse allegation
On 4 November 2022, the Presbyterian Church issued a media release: "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.
Presbyterian Church office 0800 freephone contact
If you wish to discuss a matter concerning the Presbyterian Church and the Royal Commission, you can contact the Church on our free 0800 number, it is staffed 9am to 12pm weekdays. You can leave a message after 12pm and your call will be responded to the following day on weekdays.
Complaints 0800 freephone contact
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 or see the contact for the Complaints Manager below.
Complaints of a serious sexual nature or those involving children will always be referred to the Police.
Complaints and Disputes Manager
Email - ComplaintsandDisputesManager@presbyterian.org.nz
Free phone - 0800 244 357
Q. Who would I contact to raise a matter regarding the Presbyterian Church - the Commission, the Church, or both?
A. Contact details for the Commission are here. You are able to speak to the Commission directly without first contacting the Presbyterian Church. If you would like to speak to someone from the Presbyterian Church, you can contact our Complaints and Disputes Manager - details are above.
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 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.