The head of Dilworth School says the past few weeks have been a challenging time for parents, students and staff but the allegations of historical abuse will not define the private boarding school.
Headmaster Dan Reddiex told the Herald the health, safety and wellbeing of students was the Auckland school's highest priority and efforts to try and support them continues.
"We have been openly discussing with them the historical allegations and we have counselling support in place at all Dilworth School campuses.
"We have also been communicating regularly with and listening to parents and caregivers, encouraging them to get in touch with the school to discuss any questions or concerns."
His comments come as students learnt for the first time this week the names of three of the seven former teaching staff who have been charged following historical allegations of sexual abuse between the 1970s and 2000s.
They are Alister Harlow, Ian Wilson and Ross Browne, the school's former chaplain of 26 years who resigned in 2006. Four other men have interim name suppression.
The Herald has been contacted by a numerous students, both recent and from many years ago, who have varying recollections of their time at Dilworth.
Many have shared stories of excessive corporal punishment, bullying and alleged sexual abuse and expressed frustration that nothing was done to stop it earlier.
The school has apologised for the way it previously handled historical allegations but says there are new processes in place and management will support any former student who would like to go to police now.
While none of the charges involve current students the publicity the school is getting has been stressful for many of those who are attending now.
Reddiex said he has been in regular contact with the school community since the school started looking into the culture and continues to do so.
"Over 18 months, I have discussed with them the steps we have taken to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their boys and have had overwhelming support from them. I continue to make myself available to any parent or caregiver who would like to speak with me about their son's experience at our school.
"We acknowledge it has been a hugely difficult time for our school community, but the issue of historical abuse need not, and will not define us. My team and I are committed to ensuring our students' journey at Dilworth continues to be remarkable, fulfilling and life-changing."
The police have been contacted by more than 70 members of the public since the men were charged last month.
Dilworth's Trust Board chairman Aaron Snodgrass said the school continues to co-operate with the investigation and has provided police with all relevant files.
"We are also engaging with the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care.
"Our aim is to discuss the issue of alleged historical abuse openly with our school community and to support any other complainants to come forward. This is why we actively sought to have suppression of Dilworth's name waived in connection with the proceedings currently before the court.
Snodgrass said the priority was to support former students, particularly those who have laid complaints with police or would like to.
"The Dilworth Trust Board will fully support any old boy who wants to take any allegations of abuse to the police and the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care."
Staff have been encouraged to use the school's support services and former students can talk to a free clinical psychologist in complete confidence.
The seven men face a range of charges relating to alleged offending between the 1970s and the 2000s. A few of the allegations, including ones involving drugs, happened in Hamilton and were not linked to Dilworth School.
THE DILWORTH ACCUSED
The 72-year-old Manurewa man is facing four charges.
• Indecently assaulted a boy under 16 in 1991.
• Induced a boy under 12 to do an indecent act on him in 1994.
• Indecently assaulted a boy under 16 between January 1, 1996–December 31, 1997.
• Indecently assaulted a boy under 16 in 2002.
The 60-year-old Hillsborough accountant faces one charge.
• Indecently assaulted a boy over the age of 16 in 1990.
The 69-year-old Maraetai man, who didn't have an occupation listed on his charge sheets, is facing two charges.
• Indecently assaulted a boy under the age of 16 on 12 different occasions between 1979 and 1982.
• Induced a different boy aged under 16 to do an indecent act on him in 1977.
FOUR MEN WITH NAME SUPPRESSION:
• A 78-year-old is facing three charges of indecent assault, relating to two boys, in 1977, 1978 and 1980.
• A 69-year-old is facing one charge of indecent assault between 1975 and 1976.
• A 72-year-old is facing four charges of indecent assault, relating to three boys, between 1980 and 1981.
• A 73-year-old is facing 10 charges including indecent assault, sexual violation and supplying drugs to boys between 1985 and 2008. They are in relation to offences that allegedly occurred in Auckland and Hamilton.
It has been a shock for New Zealanders to learn that several former staff at Auckland's Dilworth School have been charged with sex and drug offences against boys over more than three decades. We want you, our readers, to know that the Herald will follow this story wherever it leads. We have a team of journalists prepared to investigate and we want to hear from you. If you have any information please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to get help:
• The Operation Beverly team handling the Dilworth investigation can be reached on 09) 302 6624 or email email@example.com
• If it's an emergency and you feel that you or someone else is at risk, call 111.
• If you've ever experienced sexual assault or abuse and need to talk to someone call the confidential crisis helpline Safe to Talk on: 0800 044 334 or text 4334. (available 24/7)
• Male Survivors Aotearoa offers a range of confidential support at centres across New Zealand - find your closest one here.
• Mosaic - Tiaki Tangata: 0800 94 22 94 (available 11am - 8pm)
• If you have been abused, remember it's not your fault.