6 Jun 2024

A historic wrong has been righted with today's official naming of Validation Park and Validation Place.

Christchurch City Council has renamed Marylands Reserve and Marylands Place, both named after the site of abuse of children and young people, Marylands School.

The renaming has come after calls from survivor advocates, and in light of recommendations from the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care. The Waihoro Spreydon-Cashmere-Heathcote Community Board decided to rename the sites on 11 April 2024.

The new signage was unveiled by survivors, including advocate Ken Clearwater, and Judge Coral Shaw, Chair of the Commission.

Mayor Phil Mauger says the change contributes to puretumu torowhānui, or historic redress.

“Validation was the suggestion of the survivors of the events at Marylands School, who we worked closely with as we explored the possibilties for a new name,” Mayor Mauger says.

“The name Validation is a powerful message to survivors of experiences like these – despite years of not being listened to or taken seriously, there's always hope for validation, recognition of the experience, and taking back power in the face of what's happened. It's that strength we want to remember.”

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.

Mayor Phil Mauger and survivor advocate Ken Clearwater.