In May 2000 the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference adopted Integrity in Ministry as its official statement of Professional Standards for Clergy and Institutes of Consecrated Life in the six dioceses of New Zealand.
Because the Catholic Church in New Zealand has many lay employees and volunteers the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference adopted Standards for Volunteers and Employees in Ministry in August 2008. This was revised and updated in 2011.
...we acknowledge with deep sadness and regret that a number of clergy and religious have sexually abused children, adolescents and adults who have been in their pastoral care. To these victims we offer our sincere apology
New Zealand Catholic Bishops, A Path to Healing - Te Houhanga Rongo.
Abuse can be sexual, physical or emotional. The Church takes reports of all forms of abuse seriously. Criminal sexual or physical abuse is a matter for the police, if that is the wish of the victim/survivor. If the abuse is reported to the police, the Church will not protect the accused/offender from the processes of civil law nor hide the facts from those who are entitled to know them.
A provisional Protocol for dealing with complaints of abuse was adopted by the bishops in 1993. In 1998 the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference and the Congregational Leaders of Aotearoa New Zealand published A Path to Healing, Te Houhanga Rongo. A Path to Healing has been revised, most recently in 2010, to ensure it reflects best practice. The Church is indebted to those who have come forward, and encourages others who have experienced abuse to do the same.
Many victims/survivors of sexual abuse want to see the Catholic Church contribute to their healing. To help all those who have been hurt by abuse, in 1998 the Catholic Church created principles and procedures for dealing fairly and compassionately with sexual abuse of all types. The document is called A Path to Healing, Te Houhanga Rongo.
All New Zealand Bishops and Congregations have accepted this protocol. It is a 'living' document, to be developed and improved as experience and practice dictate.
Copies of the complete document "A Path to Healing - Te Houhanga Rongo" can be obtained from
The National Office for Professional Standards
PO Box 12 265
This work is copyright. It may be reproduced in whole or in part for research, study or training purposes subject to the inclusion of an acknowledgment of the source and no commercial usage or sale. Reproduction for purposes other than those covered above, requires the written permission of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference and the Congregational Leaders Conference of Aotearoa - New Zealand.
Requests and enquiries concerning reproduction and rights should be addressed to:
New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference
PO Box 1937
The bishops and congregational leaders established the National Office for Professional Standards (NOPS) to oversee the response to complaints of abuse. John Jamieson, former Commissioner of Police, is the Director of the NOPS. John Jamieson is not a Catholic and has a long history of public service and impartiality in law enforcement. He ensures that reviews are conducted fairly, thoroughly and independently.
In 2009, the role of the National Office for Professional Standards was amended to include oversight of all complaints from the time the complaint is made. If a review of process is later requested this will be carried out by an independent person, not the National Office for Professional Standards.
National Office for Professional Standards
Tel: (04) 499-4715
Fax: (04) 499-4716
If you, or someone you know has been abused by a Catholic priest or member of a religious congregation, we urge you to seek counselling and healing. You do not have to report the abuse to the Church, but if you do the Church will take your story seriously - even if you prefer to remain anonymous, and even if the abuse happened many years ago.
Contact people if you wish to report abuse: