Traumatic, long path to change

For five long years, survivors of abuse at the hands of Dunedin clergy have waited to see if a reminder of the city’s dark past would be removed. The news that they had succeeded was greeted with relief, but the handling of the investigation into Bishop John Kavanagh has come under fire. PIJF reporter Daisy Hudson reports.

Murray Heasley was horrified. He was staring at a photo of a convicted paedophile, on display at his old high school.

That man, Magnus Murray, was proven to have committed acts described as despicable sexual crimes against innocent and vulnerable children.

It left Dr Heasley and a group of fellow old boys of Dunedin’s Kavanagh College incensed.

Their ire was increased by the knowledge that the school’s namesake, the then Catholic Bishop of Dunedin John Kavanagh, had been aware of abuse at the time and had not reported it to police.

That moment in 2017 sparked a five-year journey for justice that, even at its resolution, has been bittersweet.

Since then, he and many others have pushed for the school’s name to be changed.

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