4 Apr 2024

A formal name change is being considered for Marylands Reserve and Marylands Place to help right a historic wrong.

The name Marylands comes from the former Marylands School, which was the site of abuse of children and young people. 

After calls from survivor advocates, and in light of recommendations from the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care, Christchurch City Council is recommending renaming the sites Validation Park and Validation Place. 

Callum Ward, Chair of the Waihoro Spreydon-Cashmere-Heathcote Community Board, says he and his colleagues will consider a new name for Marylands Place and Marylands Reserve on 11 April. Read the report here. 

“We’ve worked closely with survivors of the events at Marylands School to find a name that recognises their experiences, acknowledges the traumatic association of the name, and contributes to puretumu torowhānui, or historic redress,” Mr Ward says. 

“Survivors spoke of not being believed, or even listened to, for a long time, and they put forward the name Validation. It’s an acknowledgement of their experiences and symbolic of them taking back power over what happened.” 

The Board will also consider an alternative naming option, Monarch, which is the second preference. The monarch butterfly is a meaningful symbol for the group. 


Marylands School was a residential facility for boys, many with disabilities or learning or behavioural needs, run by the St John of God Brothers from 1955–1984. The School was originally located in Middleton on what is now Marylands Reserve and relocated to Halswell in the 1960s. There is clear evidence of abuse at Marylands School, and of the 537 boys who attended the school, more than one in five (118) reported abuse while in the school’s care, and survivors’ experiences there have had a profound impact on their lives. 

If approved, the name change will take effect from 4 June 2024. The Council will support business through the address change, and place temporary signage at the entrance to the Place advising of the upcoming change.