It took Moeapulu Frances Tagaloa nearly 20 years to read the apology she received from the Catholic Church.
Tagaloa, who grew up in a Samoan-Irish family in Grey Lynn, finally mustered the courage to lay a formal complaint in 2002 over emotional and sexual abuse she suffered as a five-year-old in the 1970s.
She said there was never a proper investigation or redress after the abuse by Brother Bede Fitton, who worked at the Marist Brothers intermediate school in Ponsonby.
After laying her complaint, she received one counselling session, an offer of $6000, and then a letter six weeks later. She tore up the letter, furious at her treatment.
"I was not advised to go to police - otherwise I would have done it," Tagaloa said.
It was not until this year that she sought a copy of the letter under the Privacy Act, as she prepared to tell her story at the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in State Care. It was cold and dispassionate, with no reference to sexual abuse.
"I apologise without reservation if the Marist Brothers' protocol was deficient in how you experienced it," the letter said.
Tagaloa, 52, said the letter also noted that her abuser had been "a successful teacher" in his younger years - which she considered "confronting" and "inappropriate".
She was not alone. Over five days of hearings held by a royal commission of inquiry in Auckland this week, common threads emerged about how the Catholic Church and its various entities in New Zealand responded to complaints about sexual abuse.
Witnesses spoke of how the church investigated itself, usually with little separation between the investigator and the abuser.
It often minimised the abuse, both in its actions and language. Survivors were not told to go to police. Abusers were rarely punished.
And survivors were usually offered money - with the caveat that it was an ex-gratia payment and not compensation for abuse.
This approach was similar for the Catholic Church across the world, experts said.
"This is completely standard," said religious historian Professor Peter Lineham. "The clergy had a built-in family loyalty system and they were never going to be objective on these issues."
Ann-Marie Shelley, 64, told commissioners at the hearings that the priest who raped her, Father Peter Hercock, was not punished but simply moved to another school.
Hercock, who was later jailed for rape, was shuffled from Sacred Heart College in Lower Hutt to Sacred Heart College in Napier.
"I believe this practice of moving priests on has come to be known as 'the geographical cure'," Shelley said. "A way the Church can hide the abuse and keep it a secret."
Lineham said one key difference in New Zealand was that the smaller scale of the church and population meant abusers could not be endlessly moved from place to place - as they had in the United States or Europe.
Gloria "Glo" Ramsay had unique insight into the way the Catholic Church in New Zealand responded to complaints. She was abused as a student at St Mary's School in Northcote in the 1950s, and later worked for the church on a committee responding to clerical abuse allegations.
"Everyone in the institution knew what was going on," she said, referring to
her work on the committee.
"The focus was on moving priests on rather than addressing the offending."
Lineham said the many disparate parts of the Catholic Church in New Zealand, which report to different superiors, made it difficult to respond and get accountability for sexual abuse within the church.
It has attempted to address this by creating the National Office for Professional Standards, a single portal for complaints against clergy.
The Catholic Church's lawyer, Sally McKechnie, said bishops and other leaders did not feel that this week's hearings were the place to challenge or questions survivors about their experiences. Faith-based institutions will respond in their own royal commission hearings next year.
In an opening statement to the commission on Monday, McKechnie stressed that the church had transformed the way it responded to sexual abuse complaints.
In 1993, it introduced a protocol for responding to sexual abuse, called Te Houhanga Rongo, or A Path to Healing. It requires, among other things, for complaints of illegal acts to be referred to police and for the appointment of an independent investigator (usually a former police officer).
Ramsay, speaking to commissioners on Wednesday, was sceptical about the protocol and the church's claims to have turned over a new leaf. She recounted the barriers she came up against she tried to hold a known paedophile to account as recently as 2014.
"The church's response is a top-down approach that fails to listen to survivors or address its profound legacy of abuse and neglect," she said.
Victim advocates still saw signs of the church's old habits in the way it approached this week's hearings.
Backed by the Anglican Church and the Salvation Army, the Catholic Church unsuccessfully sought to suppress perpetrators' names in a court hearing last week, arguing that it had not been given enough time to warn families of abusers.
Network of Survivors spokesman Murray Heasley said the court action followed the "same old global playbook of secrecy and cover-ups".
In the procedural hearing on suppressions, the church committed to "their errors and omissions being examined transparently and openly".
"Take a moment to consider how child abuse could be referred to as 'errors and
omissions'," Heasley said before the commissioners this week, his voice sharp with anger.
"Consider how seeking suppression orders aligns with open and transparent examination."
"We commend the commission for denying the church's attempt to silence our victim survivors once again. Any other outcome would have been outrageous. Now the victims get to speak."