By Andrew McRae of RNZ
A survivor of abuse while in the adolescent unit at Lake Alice in the 1970s has ended up spending 40 of his 60 years in jail.
He has given evidence at the Royal Commission into Abuse in Care in Auckland. Known only as Mr AA at the hearing, he said he felt shame about having been in prison.
"But the state trained me for it from nine years old."
That is the age he first went into state care at a number of boys' homes.
In those places he was sexually and physically abused.
At 14 he was sent to Lake Alice and ending up spending three months in the unit in 1975.
"No one told me I was going there, or why I was going there."
He was petrified about being given ECT.
"I always thought that one day my number would be up and it would be my turn. I was right."
He was given it three or four times during his stay.
For the first time he was made to lie on a bed. Four nurses and Dr Leeks looking on.
"Then the nurses wet my temples and I bit into a rubber mouthpiece so I didn't bite my tongue off."
He said the nurses held him down and Dr Leeks turned on the machine.
"The pain was slow at the start. ECT was a quick intense pain with everything flashing. I got a very tight cramp and that is why the nurses had to hold me down. I can't really explain the pain, it was how you would expect to feel if you were getting electrocuted on the head."
"When I woke up I had pissed myself and lost control of my bowels. I felt like a cabbage or a zombie for three to four days after. I had no idea why I had been shocked on my head," he said.
He said ever since ECT he had a terrible memory and had to write everything down. After being discharged from Lake Alice he was sent to school, but that did not last ling and he ended up on the streets.
Borstal followed and then prison.
He said he deeply regretted the way his life had turned out.
"If only someone had listened to me when I was nine, and supported me through the trauma of being sexually abused and living in a violent family, it might have turned out very differently for me."