Philanthropist Owen Glenn to Fund Independent Inquiry into Child Abuse in New Zealand

December 2012

This is SO exciting, Owen Glen has the money time and dedication to do this, and away from the political constraints here.  

Thank you,


(Don’t thank me – thank Owen Glenn!)…Email from historic abuse survivor after being told of the Glenn Independent Inquiry into child abuse.

The Glenn Independent Inquiry into Child Abuse – New Zealand Finds a Champion 

While the John Key NZ National Government side-stepped a royal commission, instead releasing its ill-fated, widely slated ‘White Paper on Vulnerable Children’, ex-patriot billionaire philanthropist Owen Glenn pulled no punches and announced that he would fund an independent inquiry into child abuse, stating among other things, “this could have been an official royal commission of inquiry, but the Government declined.”

For Glenn, the genesis for funding the inquiry came more than 40 years ago, during a brief spell living in the largely impoverished South Auckland suburb of Otara.

“I saw first-hand some of the horrible things that go on, and it was what prompted me to leave the country,” he said (he has spent much of the intervening time overseas).

His pledge to help fight child abuse will no doubt have a significant impact on the next election.

The report will be delivered early in 2014, election year, and Glenn has commissioned a communications firm to sign up 500,000 people to a petition demanding all parties support the findings of his inquiry – or lose their votes.

“Once we have 500,000 voters people will sit up and take notice,” he said.

In another sign of serious intent, Glenn has recruited 13 international child abuse and domestic violence experts – from Australia, the US, Canada, Uganda, and including a veteran Scottish homicide officer as well as senior academics – to form a think-tank.

Glenn has also appointed veteran family violence campaigner and former head of the government’s domestic violence unit, Ruth Herbert, to lead the inquiry.

Because the inquiry is independent, those behind it have no power of subpoena; but similarly, their work isn’t subject to Official Information Act requests, allowing them to guarantee people’s anonymity. They hope this will entice frontline workers, as well as survivors, to contribute. (source:

Scope of Inquiry

Unlike the Australian Royal Commission which deals with institutionalised historic child abuse, the Glenn Inquiry addresses the question, “If New Zealand was leading the world, what would it look like?” The inquiry aims to develop a long-term “blueprint” for the future, as opposed to presenting another report on the problem.

As inquiry head, Ruth Herbert relayed in correspondence: The Glenn Inquiry will primarily focus on abuse within the family but will not exclude institutional abuse (the latter is a huge issue and needs a dedicated inquiry of its own to do it justice – I expect that in the course of this inquiry connections will be made between the Glenn Inquiry and the Australian Royal Commission of Inquiry in child abuse within institutions).” And,“there are so many stories – so many system failures – that I worry if we really lift the lid on everything at once we won’t be able to manage – to process it all !”

Ruth Herbert doesn’t want a catalogue of woes, doesn’t plan to log every punch and kick, every depraved tale of child abuse. As she points out re historic abuse survivors: “The key thing you and others who were abused in childhood need to get across to the panel is that the support/the counselling/ access to the right medication needs to go on for years – the recovery/rebuild stage of child abuse and domestic violence goes on for many years and if the right services/system are not there throughout we get failures, and often the consequence is other social problems i.e. mental health, alcohol and drug dependency , crime etc etc…”

“This inquiry could not accommodate hundreds of stories about what the abuse was like. That’s not what it’s about . . . we want to know what is working, what’s not, and if we are going to build the best system for victims of abuse, what’s it look like?” she said.

More to be added soon. Contact the Glenn Inquiry at

14 comments on “Philanthropist Owen Glenn to Fund Independent Inquiry into Child Abuse in New Zealand

  1. Netta Christian on said:

    To Owen Glenn, we, New Zealand’s forgotten children, are deeply indebted to you for demanding a Royal Commission into our disgraceful child sexual abuse problem.Those of us who were in state care, and form part of the Historic Claims, lost our childhood, our birth family contacts, and suffered dreadful emotional physical verbal and sexual abuse while our selected state carers were handsomely paid. Our human rights were violated and no one ever accepts responsibility. Our ;present legal system to claim is unworkable, and our money goes into lawyers legal aid gravy train. Other options available offer a mere pittance, not enough for a lost childhood and a ,lifetime of emotional turmoil. I am a very senior citizen and know that even today the abuse of children in our state care continues, because the mistakes of the ;past have never been put right.

    • admin_grant on said:

      Netta, the fact is that a society that fails to learn from the past is doomed to repeat the same mistakes again. In NZs case this is very much the case and while the NZ Government does its best to create a cover up of the past by PR spinning BS and hiding the facts ($400,000 on marketing the ill fated White Paper alone) children in NZ live in one of the most dangerous countries in the world today (with regards to child abuse). Let’s hope the John Key National Government loses the next election and a more socialist labour government chooses to do the right thing and hold a royal commission into historic abuse in order to protect future generations of children.

  2. Ann Free Spirit on said:

    Thank God, we are now believed. The child within me, cries out to thank you Owen. We, the abused children of Yesteryear will always be indented to your kindness, to help the children of today. Abuse and sexual abuse ruins a child for life. We carry our cross of SHAME and PAIN forever.

    This the 2nd print and update to 2012 of my book Say Sorry, a must for every MP to read, to understand what a child goes through, when there is no one they can call on to help them.

    Thank you for giving us abused children, men and women a voice.

    Ann Free Spirit = Ann Thompson

    • admin_grant on said:

      Ann thanks for your great input. I’m putting together a links page shortly and please send me info for your site. Please also spread the word with survivors about this site. The most important thing we can do is tell our stories to show people what happened to us and what we were subjected to and what our lives became as a result of sexual and physical abuse at the hands of our carers. I’m coordinating now with others to 1) try to get a petition going in NZ re lobbying the government there to hold a commission re historic abuse in their institutions, 2) write an open letter to parliament outlining how we feel about being politicised and economically rationalised in the historic abuse claims with a call for a royal commission and 3) ideally bring the NZ Gov before the world courts for its disgraceful handling of the historic abuse claims and its refusal to address their horrendous child abuse problem adequately (the white paper is a disgrace and yet more BS on the part of the NZ government to bury the facts and politicise childrens lives!) Thanks

    • Mia larsen (nee Joyce) on said:

      Kia ora that cross had been re- erected back into the Welfare of NZ it is now known as Matua Whangai – this is the nationwide piloted programme that I successfully implementing ack into NZ Aotearoa as this was our peoples downfall when the National Party shelved the doctorines Puao te ata tu, and with the help of Parliamentarian political people and with the Nations people we are able to stand protected under as a nation that we were supposedly to e protected y as a duty of care from the Government who have failed us and this is that cross that has been reserected back into society MSD for all people to get the Pm to e held accountable and liable for their part of committing tto the people a duty of care. This has never been done before that a Nation can prosecute the crown, to support my claims my Iwi and Hapu have been awarded their Settlements in 2013 at Waitangi and the memorandum of Understanding that my Hapu Ngapuhi have with the Crown shall be the grounding foundations for making this the successful plan the world needed to have put in place, thank you very much to the owner of this website you are amazing and YES AOTEAROA NZ will never be ale to thank you enough. Power to the people.

      • admin_grant on said:

        Thank you Mia. It is important that we all work together now to help future generations of children. Let’s not let what happened to us be in vain. If each of us share something change will occur. It is already occurring because society must now face what for so long was allowed to remain buried and hidden. In denial a great injustice was allowed to occur. Kia kaha Namaste

  3. david bruce huxtable on said:

    I hope this inquiry takes place. the welfare system ruined my future

    • admin_grant on said:

      Yours and many others – mine included. Unfortunately the Owen Glenn inquiry doesn’t look at historic abuse – as Ruth Glenn has said this deserves an inquiry of its own. However, the New Zealand government is doing everything to avoid a commission and refuses to do the right thing by survivors of their system (unlike the Australians who have just released terms of reference for their royal commission into institutionalised sexual abuse of children). It’s really up to us now to lobby/petition and force the NZ government to have the guts to face up to what occurred in their institutions (as was the case in Australia with organisations such as CLAN lobbying the government).

  4. Mia larsen (nee Joyce) on said:

    How does the old saying go – put your money where your mouth is Mr Owens, only until then are we truely convinced that you are truely a genuine man that is suppose to be there amongst the vulnerable and not exploiting or using them to self further your portfolio as I am watching you very closely, and if you are not a man of truth or integrity then I will be able to use my very strong intuitional sense of feeling to called your truths. I used my powers to cut down the flag pole staff inside NZ’s MSD with Paula Bennett, I helped bring down a corrupt empire with Ira Bailey (Mr Leaky Server man re: Associated affliated member of the Tuhoe Movement with Mr Tame Iti – Tuhoe Activist), and scince doing that the MSD are now being forced to est: Matua Whangai back into the social welfare services so that better services can be accessed correctly to the people of NZ, setting the precedence for the Global World to follow), so if you are true to who you say you are and not another Rothchild who just uses $$ to gain the power it will not be successful, as we all know that the root of all evil is Money, Greed and power. The only reason why I have my concerns is because you refused to know me when I first had these iniatives to help the needy but your team refused to know me and yet I thought we were all on the same team, I am a victim of abuse so I will know someone who is genuine or not for the cause. I wonder why, because I may be a threat to your movement. Please people be careful who we associate with as like many false people they are in the business of child abuse because it is a breeding ground for all those responsile and held accountable and if we know who they are and they have money they are easy to divert the cause of justice with it. Warning alert, remember we thought we could trust people in power with the money but do we really ? Food for thught as I am still left wondering what Mr Glenn Owen has done for the little person who is at the bottom of the rubbish pile, and to date I see nothing so hoe does the old saying go – seeing is beleiving it, or walk your talk, actions speak louder than words, and at this stage I only see words and very little action with his money for the overall cause there is another concern I have regarding Mr Owens is (lol it sounds like a vetting for him doesn’t it), and that is I reached out to him and so did Damyon New check out his Homeless for those under 17 facebook page, someone that Mr Owens could of changed the life of many but has not done a thing about the real people who are on NZ’s very own Ground Zero. Food for thought…… I’m not giving away anything to be judgemental about ut one must have to think right outside of the box, and I am one of very few that can do this, we are a few selected elite group of people who are aginst Government corruption and any others who chose to associate with them and Mr Glenn Owens fits this profile, I just have red flag alerts, call it a gut feeling that I smell a rat ……perhaps? We need to investigate more on this person. If we are looking up to him as a saint that he is trying to protray himself out to be.

    • admin_grant on said:

      Hi Mia. You raise some good points and the questions you have raised merit answers. A quick response to some of your concerns:
      1) Owen Glenn has committed 80 million to fighting child abuse in NZ. The inquiry is already underway and is headed by Ruth Herbert – a veteran campaigner against child abuse and ex MSD. Having spoken to her, she is critical of the NZ Government’s approach thus far to child abuse. I hope that you contact them (the Glenn Inquiry) – you will find they are extremely good people with the best interests of Aotearoa’s children at heart. Currently Owen Glenn has also funded another project in Otara where he lived briefly as a young man. Further to this, he has given donations to the University of Auckland Business School and funds various projects in India (link to the Glenn Foundation site is The bottom line here is that Owen Glenn has absolutely put his money where his mouth is and New Zealand’s children will be better off for it.
      2) There could well be a political angle here, but if so I find this a good thing. Politics is the means to change. Politics and money!Unfortunately the two go hand in hand for right or wrong. Owen Glenn is a very astute man. I believe he has been transparent for some time about the politics of this and has also expressed an interest in NZ politics dating back many years. Firstly, he wishes to take the inquiries findings to the UN, secondly he is utilising voting power to ensure that NZs political parties sit up and take notice, thirdly, , his money is being spent in a very important area and one where much media and other attention has been focused. I myself definitely do not “smell a rat” – the greater good is the greater good and while there are a million causes not one of them is more important to ensuring safe environments for children. The NZ Government has failed to do this – Owen Glenn has stepped in! The reality is, that governments should be using tax payer money to fund all these causes and particularly given the horrific record of child abuse in NZ – the Government should be funding a Royal Commission among other things, but has renegged instead releasing an extremely flawed white paper and talking absolute garbage (for lack of a better word) in order to politicise child abuse while abhorrently failing to adequately introduce measures which will truly work. Let’s face it, Paula Bennett spent 400,000 K of NZ taxpayers money on marketing her white paper which totally failed to address poverty. When she was pulled up on the fact the white paper failed to address poverty she spun ridiculous arguments about how poverty wasn’t an issue (funny that as poverty and child abuse is closely linked and 20 per cent of NZ children are living in poverty. Any moron would understand that poverty and child abuse/neglect are linked and in attempting to deceive the media and public she treated the voter with contempt. Let’s hope that the voter treats National with the same contempt at the next election in response. Due to this politicising of child abuse, this has left it to a philanthropist to invest his own money. Unfortunately, a poor person could not do this.That is the reality! I certainly know I and most people couldn’t fund a inquiry no matter how good our intentions. There’s a saying that one must first look after themselves before they are able to look after others. My life experiences have taught me this is very true. Frankly Mia, Owen Glenn has my vote every time and while not religious, sure let’s give him a sainthood while we’re at it (hell if it were up to me I’d already be erecting a statue in the town square:-). The Maori people need to support Owen Glenn because it is Maori children who have suffered more than most (statistically speaking) – something Owen Glenn would attest to, having lived in Otara in the 60′s when it was predominantly populated by Maori.

      Thanks Mia – just my thoughts. Thank you for raising issues and very relevant food for thought. kia kaha Namaste.

    • Lady justice on said:

      Impeccable intuition, all of what this person foresaw/described took place.

  5. help me financially to start up a home for abandoned children. I have the land but not have the money for start up.

    • admin_grant on said:

      Who are you asking? Owen Glenn? If so best to contact him through his site.

      He did a fantastic job with the inquiry which is already having ripple effects but will bite next year when NZ has to go up before the UN. He has pulled all other donations to child abuse from NZ due I expect for reasons he only fully understands.

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