I wonder how many "respectable citizens" in positions of trust kept silent during the years when Trevor Gibbs taught music at Wanganui Collegiate School in the 1970s and enabled him to continue his child abuse.

Many people were complicit. He gets six years' jail.

The young mid-aged man who testified has been a dear friend for years and I know the enormous courage it took for him to testify, forced to relive and recall the horrors.

Over two years the Gibbs defence tried to delay and cut deals, but my friend stood firm while others succumbed.


As a nation we have expressed shock and horror at the huge number of youth suicides. So many will be victims of child abuse - too terrified to tell anybody, often called liars if they did; haunted with guilt not of their making; their lives totally damaged.

That is why the child abuse inquiry must include faith-based institutions now.

Thank you to the police officer who persevered for two years to bring this case to court and handled the victims with great sensitivity.

Far Away the best

I take my trumpet to the Wanganui soccer teams and make a joyful sound when a home goal or near-miss happens.

The visitors for the opening game were a bunch of likely lads who told me they were from Napier. They wanted to know why I was holding a trumpet.

I thanked them for coming all that way to give us a football match and assured them I would only be playing on behalf of Wanganui.

Come half-time I was approached by a couple of players from Napier. "That was great," they said. "Would you consider moving to Napier, bringing your trumpet and playing for our team?"

Being asked to play Far Away is a standing joke among musicians, but it started me thinking.

When Napier City moved their offices for earthquake strengthening there were 112 staff involved. Napier is 60,000 population plus, half as big again as Wanganui, yet our city council has maybe twice as many staff.

My rates for an ordinary three bedroom house are almost $4000 - this could be a NZ record.

I will look at Napier real estate values and residential rates. I will think about the refuse-strewn Wanganui beach and the prevailing southwest wind here ... all because I was asked to play Far Away. Do I really need all this at age 89?

F G ROSE (aka Father Fred), Whanganui
Regional flights

RE: Air New Zealand. Good on you, Mark Dawson - quite right. This is our national carrier and, yes, there should be a social impact outcome in their SOI.

This bull about economic vandalism is exactly the opposite. If our regions are doing well our country does well.

DON McLEOD, Whanganui
User pays please

The Chronicle front page on March 5 asked whether Wanganui should pay for the facilities at Manfeild racetrack.

I feel this is a red herring as Manfeild racetrack, as I understand, was built by the Manawatu car club and corporate and private money. Every competitor pays anywhere from $100 to $300 a day to compete on the track, so those who use it, pay todo so.

David Cotton also asks: "What happens when Manfeild wants $6m?" I deduce from that statement that Manfeild has never asked for a handout from the ratepayer.

By comparison, I would ask if the cyclists pay to use the velodrome. They, along with our mayor, want to put the cost of a roof on to every ratepayer in the district.

I suggest the cycling community take a leaf out of the motorsport community's book and pay for their own fun.

I have had a gutsful of free-loading, lycra loopys expecting excessive consideration both on and of the road while having no registration, WOF or road user fees.

A BARRON, Aramoho
World problems

Dave Hill is right on the money when he says over-population is the world's biggest problem, although I think he misses the point that this and global warming are synonymous.

If we in the First World are to demand that those in the Third World give up their breeding habits, then they are entitled to demand that we give up our wasteful, exploitative growth-based economic system.

I would love to live long enough to see the United Nations deal meaningfully with that one. But it's never going to happen - the human condition forbids it.

We are going to stagger on as a house divided repeating our past mistakes and seeking the answer in conflict. Look into history and the fate of the Roman Empire for the likely outcome.

L E FITTON, Whanganui
DPB to blame

Labour on child poverty: It's a result of Labour Party legislation - the domestic purposes benefit in particular. I also believe the DPB has bred people with low esteem and low self-reliance, leading to our high imprisonment rate and suicide rates.

BOB HARRIS, Whanganui