Bill’s Story

My name is Bill. I was born in a working men’s camp in Akatarawa in January 1953. A year synonymous with many things, like the Queen’s Coronation, Sir Edmund Hillary conquering Mt. Everest, in same month I was born, but also disasters such as the Tangwhai Train Disaster. A turbulent year for my country all round. My Father was a very hard working man, my mother didn’t want to marry my father, but marry they did. I don’t think she was cut out to Marry, or be a mother. Growing up, she was a very strict disciplinarian on me. Often I would be beaten for minor typical young boy infringements.

My father loved me, but he had to work very long hours and days as my Mother insisted she have enough money for her needs and wants, for herself mainly. She was like that all her life with money. Times my Dad went to pub, gambling, drinking, home late, many an argument ensued in our house. When coming home drunk once in a while he would take his anger out on me, going as far as taking chain off my old clapped out push bike, and giving me a severe thrashing with this chunk of metal, cutting open my legs and buttocks.

I barely remember many actual good times. Cuddles and any love for me usually only came via my visiting Fathers Young teenage sister. I loved my Aunt Dot, she was a beautiful wonderful woman who genuinely loved me, and still does being the remaining family member left alive in her seventies. To me that is. My mother is still alive as far as I presently know, but no mother to me, never has been really. Aged now this past January,  86 years old. I have not seen or spoken to her for decades.

My father committed a crime against the law, by having unlawful sexual relations with a minor, a girl at a party he attended. He was given four years imprisonment at Mt Crawford, but on appeal to three years after girl, aged fourteen agreed she was a willing participant. However, it was found out, that my Father had an illness that drew him to young females in a pedophile manner, including attempts on his own Sister when she was only 13. His name and the incident was spread on the pages of the TRUTH NEWSPAPER. This saw me teased and bullied at my local Primary school in Naenae. When the State houses were built, my parents applied for and got a two bedroom one on the western side of Railway lines in Naenae/Wingate area.

My mother refused me to have anything to do with all my cousins after this, and I missed them terribly. I began to run and push bike my way to them on regular basis around the Hutt Valley and even over the hill to Wainuiomata. Always bought back, and beaten by my mother for this. The beatings were regular, and by whatever she could lay her hands on. I was never allowed inside after school, until she came home to unlock the house. In winter I froze, sitting on cold concrete porch waiting up to 2 hours, sometimes longer, to get inside, so started breaking in through small louvre window at top of eaves by climbing up drain pipe. Upon hearing her return, quickly left through front door which snipped locked behind me.

I was caught a few times by the Police when taking others push bikes to visit my cousins, and for loitering on Railway tracks. So I was gaining a criminal record on file that remains to this day! Sometimes I ran away from home, and broke into shops and houses to steal food after hungry and on run for days at a time.

My mother had constant men friends, with whom she had stay over in house. My brother was born in December 1958. But my Father, until the day he died, knew he was not his child, as did all his family. You see, my Mother had a name for herself, ever since when we were living in a big old boarding house in Wellington, that my dad came home from work early, and saw me playing, aged only 2 years old, in hallway. Mum was in room with another man, who had escaped out window and down old fire escape to ground, without my Dad catching him. Mother became well known to all local people as the (leg opener of Lower Hutt). One of her men friends, most believe the father of my brother, started interfering with me when I was only about 8. I was scared of him, he would, when he knew my mother was asleep, and me also, he would come into my Brother and I’ bedroom lift blanket and sheet, touch me and fondle me. I kept my eyes closed out of fear he would discover I was awake, knowing he shouldn’t be doing this to me. He also a few times stripped off his pyjama bottoms, prop himself up on his elbows and knees over me, putting his penis between my legs, hold my legs together with his knees and in very short time of humping me, ejaculate onto the sheet under my backside. He never did know I was awake, or that he had woken me doing this many many times.

Finally, in 1962/3 (without referring to my file exact date) I was suddenly standing before this magistrate, who said to my mother that the State is considering taking me into Welfare care. My mother was asked if she could show reason that she could manage me and take care of me. I remember her shrugging her shoulders and agreeing she couldn’t and perhaps they were better off taking me and seeing what they could do with me.

I was taken to Epuni Boys Home. My nightmares started right there and then. The Principal took me into his office, immediately cuffed me hard around face and my ear with a big heavy hand, knocking me to the floor. He dragged me up, slammed me into a chair, and said….”I’ve read all about you, you little bugger….we will straighten you out here quick smart. I was in a state of shock, and crying a lot.

I never attended a school. I was immediately given my mattress, bedroll, and taken to this big dormitory with about 20 odd at least other boys. I was shown by an older boy how to do a bedroll to perfection, and given instructions that if I didn’t follow orders, behave, be perfect in all my ablutions, and tidiness, would be punished. The first night, unable to sleep, frightened out of my wits and crying, peed my bed. In Morning, afraid to get up, I was physically kicked and manhandled out. When noted I had wet the bed, all the other boys laughed and jeered loudly. I was severely embarrassed. Made to put linen and blankets in laundry, and my mattress down into boiler room to dry out. In the afternoon, a tall and thin staff member with fair to slightly ginger hair took me into boiler room to get my dried out mattress. He unlocked boiler room door, locked it behind us. He pushed me, stumbling to maintain my balance down the concrete stairs. The boiler room was hot. He pushed over mattress laying against step walls. He leaned against step wall, and ordered me to get on my knees on mattress in front of him. He forced me to kneel close, by his penis area with cuffs around my ear. He undone his brown leather belt and black trousers, then his underpants. I had never before seen such a huge penis on another boy or man. He said to put my mouth over it and start sucking it up and down while he placed one of my hands on his testicles. It was the first time I tasted semen…..but certainly miles away from the last! He gave me a barley sugar lolly to rid my mouth if the horrible salty taste after spitting it out. I remember seeing him do this to All the boys who had peed the bed and wet their mattresses.

Day one, and I was the butt of all the jokes and intimidation by the other boys and staff. I was made to mop floors, wash out toilets, and clean things all day, everyday for the next few weeks. Often I would receive unwarranted kicks or punches from both other boys and staff members, like I was their favourite dog and to be treated as such.
The days all rolled into one for me as though in a dream. I ran away first chance I got, but captured relatively quickly. First time I ran home, begging my Mother to keep me home from that place. She didn’t even bother asking why…..just rang up home, and took me back! I was so scared I even peed my pants when seeing the senior staff member on duty, striding toward me. He talked to my mother, even gently holding her hand and assuring her all is fine, we will help young William to get better. He even spoke kindly to me, assuring me all will be ok. Moment my mother gone, I saw this blinding white light and hurt in my head….on floor of reception area. I was very dizzy, sore and crying. I was taken to showers, forced to strip off, and shoved physically roughly into shower, with water being freezing cold, and told to clean myself up you ” dirty stinking worthless piece of shit”! I was used to that……my Mother often said I was a typical useless piece of (surname) SHIT.

A few months later, I was told my Dad was being released from Prison, and was coming home, and that if they could sort it, will be home with my mother n Father again. I was of course ecstatic….over the moon really!

I had of course, run away several times….once, I ran with 3 other boys, found a door unlocked in Naenae shopping centre to a clothing store. We all changed into some new fresh street clothes, and made our way to Wellington. We stole milk money to buy food. In many times, I would stake out a house, wait until they all left for the day, break in, have a bath, get into other clothes of the boy if they had one, eat whatever I wanted, and took pillow case of food back to my other new Street Kid friends where we were all living in an old abandoned house up a street of Te Aro Street, in Wellington. We were free for about 2 weeks or so before Police raided the house. Some got away, but I got nabbed!

I digress there!

Anyway, at about 7pm one night I was told my Mother was coming to see me. She sat me down, and without any preamble, said her and my Dad separating and he was going away…..without even coming to see me! I only found out years later, my Mother had sole rights on who could visit and talk to me, and my Father wasn’t allowed to, out of Mothers singer and revenge….as though my Father hadn’t, nor ever will according to her like mind!

That was a major turning point… morning I was off again, trying to hunt down and find my Dad! It took me several attempts, but never worked. Eventually I was allowed to go home, and back to primary school. I of course only had one thing on my mind, I wanted my Father and wanted to be with him. I found where he was living, and often sneaked away to see him. Wagging school etc.He loved having me, but after an hour or so with him, told me I really had better get home to my Mother or Dad would get into trouble.

One day was found there by Mother, and forced to cycle home from Taita to Naenae in front of her in her car right behind me, knowing all the while I was “in for it” when getting home. By this time I was working ways out of getting a belting by staying out on street in full view of neighbours and she dare not belt me up in front of them!
After much absconding, I was eventually taken by Police, and locked in the secure block at Epuni, then removed up yo Hokio Beach School. Hey, in all honesty I was excited….a new place, away from both my Mother who I didn’t want to live with, and the terror of being at Epuni!

What a big joke that turned out to be!

The torture and abuse continued, but only worse, much worse! Abused severely by the Principle, Mr. Wolfe. The House Masters, Mr. Henderson, and the older boys, big built boys. I was small for my age, under nourished. Spent very little time in the classrooms, once again. Started immediately escaping away from constant abuse. Raped, forced to fellatio, getting into fights as started defending myself.

“Punishment Detail” was a big part of my life. From 2/3 days, up to 5/6 weeks at a time. When caught, often up to 3 miles away up beach toward the old “Hydrabad”, a steel sailing boat washed up on the Waitarere Beach. Dragged roughly back, stuffed into big canvas laundry bag, and preceded to be kicked at by all the other kids and Staff. Derided constantly. I just curled up in a ball and tried to protect my face and head. Punishment each day consisted of the following; Hauled from bed 6am….forced into cold shower by staff member and older boy who would be my punishment minder for the duration. Often the broom they used to push me into shower penetrated my anus. Made to soap n wash for up to 5 minutes, no matter what time of year, winter as well. Dressed, made to make up perfect bedroll. It was during this period when Staff members left me in “care” of older boy, the boy would toss my bedroll on floor, and make me remake it time after time, until I had to relent to him raping me up the backside, day after day. Then made to stand outside in court yard of the H block accommodation wings, doing physical running on spot, star jumps, push-ups etc for up to an hour while other boys getting up and ready for breakfast to go to the class rooms, or general play or organised outings on weekends. Made to stand up in dining room to eat a half portion meal from all other children. Given only five minutes to consume the food, I was so ravenous it only took me less than a minute to bolt it down, then immediately sent to yard to run on spot until taken by older boy “carer” to do my slave labour, of filling wheelbarrows of heavy sand, running with barrow to and from the swamp at bottom of property to fill the swamp in, reclaiming the land. Often belted around legs with bamboo stick if fell over struggling with weight of the barrow of sand, and every barrow so full could get no more in it. I often dehydrated, dropping from pure exhaustion, with no morning tea breaks at all. Lunchtimes, same as breakfast. Afternoons same as mornings. Cold shower after end of day….but no bed for me. While others were in full view, in library, playing table tennis, or pool table games, or whatever, I was scrubbing yard with cold water and tooth brush, it same to toilets, until my knees bleeding and painful from concrete floors/yards. Given an old rag, cleaned up knees best as could, made bed and fell in wiped out, crying myself to sleep….although by now, the tears had dried up.

The sexual abuse continued, even woken in night to perform fellatio on night watchman.I didn’t want to live anymore. No one was going to save me, I had resigned myself to that.I dived into books, mainly to “escape” my nightmares, my terrible life. Put my mind as far away from that place as I could. Never had any friends in the whole 18 months I was in Hokio.

Once let out…..I was coming on twelve years old. I was piling with my mother. I was placed into Taita Intermediate school on high street, opposite Wingate over bridge. I couldn’t settle at all. It was totally Alien to me to live and be in a “normal” school and life amongst other children. I picked fights, I thought to myself, these kids are weak….here is my chance to be my own “kingpin” of my world! I had already learned to masturbate myself, and was a frequent masturbater. I used to feel up the girls around me, warning them with threats of repercussions if they told anyone. I was being the real bully, for the first time in my life, having learned that to have a good time, one had to be the bully not the weak bullied!

I did many strange things in class…..making funny noises, being smart, disrupting the class. Yet, through my reading for years, was extremely bright, and even my mother was told if only I applied myself, I was capable of sitting University entrance examinations at my young age of twelve years!

Once, I took this sharp knife from home. At school break time, walked up to the start of the hill fire break at end of Wingate bridge. I clambered up the rocks to fire break, walking up about two hundred yards or so, I stripped naked, leaving my clothes, had a massive hard on, feeling extremely sexual. I walked/hiked up to the top of the hills fire break, and starting dancing and jumping around, like I was this massive champion no one could ever defeat. I felt FREE, To do whatever I wanted and no one could stop me. The wind came up. I got cold being naked. Walked back down, redressed myself, and went home. My mother at work….no one knew I was home. I thought no more of the strange thing I had done. I started wandering off again. Whenever I felt I just needed to live alone, be alone, where no one could ever hurt me again, I often would go to remote areas, like way out to Pencarrow light house, and begin my walk around the whole country following the coastline! My mind was such a jumbled mess.

I would often play and fondle with local young girls in my neighbourhood. One, aged about 7 or 8, I took to the Picture theatre, sat her on my lap, and kissed her all through the movie. Just kiss, no sexual fondling. I felt powerful and alive. I could control her, into being in love with me, and having her with me like that, felt heavenly, as I never got cuddles or love like that from anyone, not even my own mother.

Eventually the Police had enough of me, and I was sent to the Boys a Training Centre, Kohitere, Levin. My nightmares began all over again. Brutally used as a punch bag, a sexual toy to all and sundry. I started using the weight lifting training room to get myself bigger, stronger, so I could defend myself and seek revenge on my tormentors. My dreams and thoughts of this totally consumed me. One day a competition was organised in weightlifting. Using all three forms of lifts, clean and jerk, press, and snatch, I cleaned up the competition! I lifted more weights, heavier than my own weight, than all those big braggart bully Maori boys and their Kingpin!

That night, I was dragged from my bed by about 6 or more of those boys, and beaten until unconscious on the shower room floor. Of course, being asked what happened, I dared not reveal it, and remained silent.
One day, after being forced to commit fellatio on one of those Maori boys, I went back to my room, really angry. I punched my fist through the window, narrowly avoiding a compete sever action of the main ligament in my right thumb. I dropped to the floor screaming in frustration and rage, grabbing both hands on the hot pipe of the radiator heater, and struggling with 2 staff members trying to dislodge me, as I bled profusely from the cut. I was taken to the medical room, a doctor was called, who stitched me up and asked what happened to get me so worked up and angry. I looked up, saw the arsehole who forced me to suck him off, standing at door, giving me this glaring look. I knew if i said anything, I was dead meat. So I just remained silent. These days rarely spoke with anyone at all….very much a loner.

I had a sexuality confusion, which led to the odd meeting in private with a boy with whom we just masturbated each other. I became very adept at escaping. I knew that 3 miles south, at a small place called Ohau, goods trains on way to Wellington stopped at a siding, at precisely 8pm, waiting for up to an hour, for another train, the night passenger train heading to Auckland, passed through. I would escape right about 7:30 pm, across the farmlands, looking carefully at country roads in my path, often seeing people with torches trying to find me. I avoided them, got across main highway, and untying the ropes on a corner edge of the tarpaulins that covered the wagon, crawl into the small space, often laying on bags of cement or wood or whatever, pulling the loose rope in with me, so undetectable. The driver often walking around train banging wheels etc with iron bar checking out train and carriages, never did discover me. Also, when apprehended, and asked how I got to Wellington, would never reveal my secret!

I did same as always, using other people’s homes to bathe, dress, eat, take loose change occasionally and the odd ten bob note in a drawer I found, and some food in a pillow case….living rough in people’s garden sheds, under bridges, in Bush up Haywards Hill etc. I was often a dreamer…..that I was an explorer, a loner, and would one day find a decent life!

I turned 15 on January 21st 1968. I had escaped again in December 1967. I was, when apprehended, placed in the Police Cells in Levin, and spent a very lonely News year eve in those cells. The food was great compared to what I’d got in Kohitere! The Cops were nice to me, often coming into cell, talking to me, friendly, but I never said much when invited to talk about what was bothering me to run away all the time. One day after my birthday, I was taken to see an official and asked a lot of questions, but I remained super quiet, head down, not saying anything.

Taken back to cell, on 22nd of January, after 3 weeks at Police Station, 2 men collected me, and we took a bus to Wellington. I spent night in Police Cells. Next morning, very early hours, taken by same two men to board the ship Aramoana. Given a cabin with four bunks in it. First time ever on a ferry. I was handcuffed to the bed, while the men left. I’d had no breakfast at all. I was hoping they would bring something back, but they didn’t. About 2pm or so, one of them returned with a sandwich, and filled a glass of water from the hand basin for me. I was really really thirsty and hungry. One small sandwich wasn’t much! But, better than nothing. I was used to not too much food for as long as I could remember. The bloke smelled of alcohol, a strong whiskey and cigarette smoke from him. Later in afternoon, he returned about 6pm. He was staggering a bit. He slurred his speech somewhat. He said you must be used to this huh? He then stopped in front of me on bottom bunk, still handcuffed, dropped his trousers and undies, and said you know what to do you little shit….do it, and after a couple smacks around my head did what he wanted. I seethed the rest of voyage, which arrived in Lyttleton Harbour, about 7pm. We got on steam train through tunnel and into Christchurch. Taken to Central Police Station, I spent a very lonely night in cell until next morning. All other prisoners had been fed, so had no tea that night either. Just some water in a hard old chipped plastic jug and old strained tea cup that smelt horribly of Janola.

Next morning, allowed a shower, some very welcome breakfast, and taken shortly after to the Train Station, boarding a Steam Train. I had no idea in the world or New Zealand where I was or where I was going, and extremely feeling isolated and frightened being so far away. I was handcuffed entire journey to a “minder”.

We arrived at Invercargill Railway Station in the late afternoon. Only a sandwich and water, but as well as a banana for lunch, when train stopped at Timaru. Hungry, thirsty, tired, feeling cold in just my institution standard grey shorts, shirt and thin Jersey, plus shoes n socks.Taken in through big locked barred doors, and into reception where held in a locked room. Was given some cooked tea of potato, cabbage, carrot, and a slice of yucky tinned beef, but was so hungry, ate the lot, even though cold. Given a couple of blankets, left in locked room overnight. Next morning, taken to showers, where after, was dusted in this white powder I thought was Talcum Powder, but stunk to high heavens! Was then physically examined by a Doctor, and had my testicles and hair under arms and on head examined for any lice etc. Wasn’t spoken to much at all. Given bedding, clothing, with my name written on white tags on them, taken up stairs to this cell in the South Wing. I stayed on this cell for about 16 hours a day for a week, slowed out for evening recreation and showering. Only had metal pis spot in cell for toileting. Suffice to say, I learned very quickly to try and push out poo before being locked in at night!

My first brutal attack, came out of nowhere. I was punched, king hit in the head whilst sitting down in recreation area on cell block bottom floor. Other guys standing around cutting off view of Prison Officers while this happened. This HUGE Maori guy, I know to this day his name, but can’t mention it on here, also proceeded to stomp on me. He dragged me up by my hair, slammed me into my seat and said, “you are my bitch you Pakeha Cunt! And whatever I say you do!” If I say you jump, you ask me how high, understand bitch?” Jesus…’s me, quite a strong boy, with good strength, even a six pack stomach from my weight training in Kohitere, only just a 15 year old boy, and here’s this HUGE brick shit house built Maori, part Samoan, aged 20. I fair freaked out, and begged him to not hit or kick me again…..he broke me, and really quickly! I was at his beck and call for everything. He never sexually abused me, but at a later time, had a terrible sexual attack and rape on me happen. I was grateful in a weird way, as no other blokes ever came near me! I just took each day as it came, trying to survive and get through the day. I never had a single visitor, and only realised why, when I realised I was living in the Arsehole of NZ feeling like I was so far away from the North Island.

Part two coming soon

9 comments on “Bill’s Story

  1. rob sinclair on said:

    good lord the experience is exactly the same as my own in fact I may have been at these institutions while you were there… what a fucking horror show you poor bastard… I think I know even who you are pure speculation perhaps…
    I just awoke this very evening from the same recurring nightmare locked up unable to escape been having them all my life.. cant even find any refuge in sleep.. I wrote a book about some of it… ” all gods children” get a copy if you can it might help.. or contact me at Ill get you a copy… hey mate dont let the bastards grind you down I admire your courage and your spirit thats all that realy matters in the long run…

    • admin_grant on said:

      Thanks and yes as you I feel your pain. Safe to say though the fight for justice goes on. They don’t call us survivors for nothing. I prefer the word warrior though. We survived everything they threw at us. The fight goes on. A warrior doesn’t lie down. Where a survivor may flee warriors stand. Surviving is hanging on. There is hope in the fight and no hope in survival in my mind. Thanks mate and keep up the fight.

  2. Cath Lochead on said:

    Prayers are with you. You are a survivor and lets hope your perpertrators will be brought to justice; all of them – including the ones who knew what you were going through and did nothing to help! Fight for justice and so that you can receive compensation.

  3. I know what you went through. I think our paths probably crossed. I am very dangerous now. I bet you are too.

    • admin_grant on said:

      Only dangerous to dangerous people mate. I guess I turned into the predator of predators so yep what happened taught me I was on my own and that I needed to protect myself and my brother. Trust no one. Around every corner lies danger. I could already handle myself at that age but I dedicated a lot of time to learning to fight and still spend hours in the gym working with fighters. So in some ways I took that violence we become capable of and made it positive. I stay away from alcohol though bro because if I kick off shit gets very messy very quickly and I have taken apart more than one bar. Focus that violence bro and you may just find you become a major asset to those who need protecting. Be smart and be careful. Kia kaha

  4. Denniston Furey on said:

    Yes I know what you went through at Hokio, eventually opened up to my wife in 1982
    for the first time telling her the horrors of Hokio.
    It was my wife that sat down with me and we wrote down everything I could remember,
    names of boys, staff and what happened to me while there, 1958-1960.
    I have been able to turn a lot of this into a form to be printed as an article on abuse of all forms that happened at Hokio. In writing my article, I have a copy given to me of Rob Sinclair’s book that I use to verify some of my works. Yes Rob was at Hokio when I was there. The title of my article, ” The Children of Silence.”

  5. Ron Thomasn on said:

    I was in waikeria detention centre also a forced admitted patient at sunnyside Hospital in Christchurch.
    In Sunnyside i was involuntary given shock treatment plus did the rounds of the boys homes and we were lucky to survive.
    Timaru my home town had a predator detective who was a sadist abuser and child molestor ,
    None of it was good nothing about the whole system had any merit but we are survivors and comrades we will die on our feet rather than kneel and get abused again.
    In unity comrades fight the bastards

  6. Dan O'Reilly formerly David Beri on said:

    I remember, not quite as bad as your experience, but a lot of arseholes were there

  7. Hey good to hear your being positive mate. I to was at epuni then kohetere. I thought
    Smashing guys was cool.keeped the other inmates from picking on sixty one now
    And thinking how life could have been different. I remember working five days a week.
    For eighty cent a kohetere forest. And coming out after two years broke and broken.

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