“How we suffered…. WE SUFFERED!”


Podcast Show Notes

“Anita “wants justice for those still living in silence and the many who have passed away, some by their own hand, largely as a result of horrific and systemic abuse at the hands of Salvation Army officials.

Jane Lowe, her friend and fellow survivor, has gone public about the nature and extent of the abuse which is described here.

In 2003, The Salvation Army categorically denied any abuse had taken place but had changed its tune by 2006 when a class action against it was initiated.
Anita was part of this action.





“Anita” describes “an incandescent rage” which animates her still.

She describes her frustration in dealing with The Royal Commission, the ineptitude and ageism she encountered and the difficulty an older pākehā (European descent) had being respected, valued and cared for.

As a highly educated person, she found it extremely problematic to be talked down to and patronised as though not being part of a computer on-line world was inherently disqualifying.

She found tokenism frustrating in the extreme and dismissed as inappropriate any suggestion survivors should be siloed into different categories by race, age or source of abuse.

“We are all survivors of abuse as children. We are one and should be treated as such. Such divisions are absurd.”

She does not have a computer and hand- writes her testimony. She relies on traditional mail and a land line telephone. She found this to create an extremely fraught communication problem with constant and incessant break-down in this communication.

“Many of us are in this situation. It’s a reality the Royal Commission has got to come to terms with”.

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Reach out

Were you a victim of the Salvation Army or have you suffered abuse similar to what Anita and the other orphans endured?

If you’d like assistance with

  • Finding support
  • Reporting your abuse to Police
  • Reporting to the New Zealand Royal Commission into Abuse in Care

Then we may be able to provide help. Members of our Network have lived experience in all of these areas and by sharing their experiences and knowledge they can make the road a little easier to navigate. Contact us in confidence.

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About The Guest

Anita as a child


“Anita” Survivor of “The Grange” Salvation Army Orphanage.

“Anita”, describes her 6 years (1951 to 1957) at the Edwardian -style building in Clifton Road, Herne Bay, Auckland, New Zealand as a period of “total terror”

She was mercilessly and savagely beaten and abused by a Captain Harris over the entire time.

This is a period which still-over 60 years later-gives her night terrors and has caused unimaginable mental, psychological and spiritual distress and constant suicidal thoughts.

Anita took comfort in books and excelled academically at Auckland Girls Grammar and speaks a number of European languages.

In 2006, “Anita”, together with 44 others including Jane Lowe, took a class action against the Salvation Army for the harm done.

Anita is one of only two survivors of this class action and in May 2019, at considerable risk to her own well-being, agreed to participate in a Private Session of the abuse in care Royal Commission before Royal Commissioner Paul Gibson.

She did so as she sees herself as the living representatives of the thousands of little girls she considers tortured victims of what she describes as the “gulag” of 15 orphanages run by the Salvation Army from 1903 to 1993.

She wants the Salvation Army to be brought to account for its actions and to answer for its behaviour and the dreadful suffering-including sexual assault- inflicted on the innocent children placed in its care.

About The Host

Murray Heasley

Murray is an advocate and historian for The Network of Survivors of Abuse in Faith-based Institutions and Their Supporters and a founding member of The Reckoning NZ