The Christchurch Civic Crèche Case

Documents Main Index

1992 Documents

This page last updated June 24 2007

The Magnolia Files
September 2005
Watch this space … files still promised !!!!

September 1992 - Police Photo - SRA and the Ellis case
A photo.
Taken by police but never used by the police or given to the defence.
The photo shows that even at the time the Crèche was closed (September 1992), there were people actively promoting the idea that the Crèche case involved satanic ritual abuse.
The photo shows an extract ("Working with children exposed to ritual abuse")
from Daniel Ryder's 1992 book

Sept-Nov 1992  Internal Christchurch City Council Memos
Mike Richardson deals to Union request for information; and his concerns about personal grievance claims;

Alistair Graham shows that Council was not acting in a neutral manner

Rob Dally working with police and Crown solicitor in releasing information

September 1992 - ACC
The ACC bonanza
Correspondence between City Council and ACC

Martin Maguire and John Gray from the Christchurch City Council feel the heat from parents wanting to claim ACC money for the "abuse" that occurred at the Crèche.

David Hutton from the ACC outlines the process required to claim money -

Parents were able to claim under existing legislation entitling them to $10000 for the sexual abuse:

Hutton:  "
We need information (normally a counsellor's report) which provides persuasive evidence that an event has occurred which is "covered" under the ACC legislation. Note that the level of evidence is persuasion rather than the level of proof required for a Court of law."

In practice, ACC were happily "persuaded" - as the allegations by themselves were enough to meet the ACC threshold.

September 1992 - Employment Case Documents

·                1992-0902 - Minute sheets of meeting between Ministry Education and City Council staff

·                1992-0903 - Memo from City Manager John Gray to Mayor and City Councillors about Crèche closure

·                1992-0907 - City Council Meeting Minutes

·                1992-0916 - Letter from Michael Deaker to Lawson

·                1992-0921 - City Council Meeting Minutes (of Sept 7)

·                1992-0929 - Letter from Michael Deaker to Crèche staff

August 1992 - New Evidence
A Crown letter the jury never got to see!
Letter from Dr Karen Zelas to the Police

"It is clear that "Katrina"'s parents elicited disclosures of abuse by Peter Ellis by highly leading questioning.

"Tommy"'s brother and parents did the same.

In "Tommy"'s case, the parents subjected him to intensive interrogation pertaining to 'ritual' abuse between the three August interviews which were on consecutive days.

"Tommy" would then disclose in the next interview with Sue Sidey the information elicited by his parents the previous night."

Search Warrants and Affidavits

October - Search Warrant served on Lesley Ellis
June - Search Warrant served on 404 Hereford Street

July 1992 - Rosemary Smart - Review   (pdf 390 kB)

A review of the Management Policy and Practices
of the Civic Childcare Centre",
by Rosemary Smart, Director Campbell Centre, Christchurch

Rosemary Smart
"assumed Ellis was guilty" -
joined the bandwagon of what she called the "daycare sexual abuse phenomenon"
June 2 2005

The reason for the review is given in the introduction: "This review of the management of the Civic Childcare Centre stems from incidents of alleged sexual abuse of children at the Centre over a period of six years by a male staff member qualified in early childhood education"

Smart immediately goes onto say that "Sexual abuse in daycare is a phenomenon that is just beginning to be understood", and talks of the incidence of sexual abuse and why a highly complimentary 1991 Education Review Office review may not have indicated sexual abuse.  The rest of the introduction includes sections on perpetrators, symptoms and disclosures of sexual abuse.

Smart claims that she was only reviewing management, and was not looking for whether an event happened ("A City Possessed" p313). Martin Maguire (of the CCC) went on to claim that "it had nothing to do with Peter Ellis"

The introduction and content say otherwise. The report was written on the assumption that abuse had occurred and that the author (Smart) was setting herself up as an expert in this "newly understood phenomenon".

McLoughlin (North and South, 1996) said that the report "assumed Ellis was guilty" and "contained extensive accounts of his deviant lifestyle". Smart's report encouraged the police to investigate the women staff of the creche.

Smart fueled the hysteria prevailing. She was not objective but simply another example of a professional jumping on the exciting and perhaps titillating bandwagon of the sexual abuse witchhunt. That witchhunt would not begin to abate for a decade.


June 28 - Complainant Parent writes to Gaye Davidson   (pdf 42 kB)

I've been wanting to send you a note for a while as we've been really feeling for you and the rest of the staff during this difficult time. I can only imagine its been hell for you all

May 1992 - March 1993 - Gen Crossen, Social Worker (Documents) 

Gen Crossen
believes her role was "vital"

New June 24 2007

Feb 1993, Letter by Crossen re her employment

Dec 1992, Helen Campbell report on Crossen supervision

Dec 1992, Gen Crossen report to December

Sep 1992, Janet Biswell of NZCYP reporting resolutions of Police NZCYP and CCC Meeting

Aug 1992, Gen Crossen report to August

Jun 1992, Gen Crossen urges Martin McGuire of CCC to have counselling

Jun 1992, Gen Crossen report to June

May 1992, Christchurch City Council Social Workers job descriptions

April 29 - Beth Wood - from the Office of Commissioner for Children   (pdf 43 kB)

Beth Wood, Community Relations Officer for the Commissioner for Children writes to the Christchurch City Council.


The Office of the Commissioner for Children intends to produce a parallel report to that being prepared by Rosemary Smart - for general use in New Zealand. Wood wants to liaise with Smart on this project

Ms Beth Wood
Community Relations Officer
Commissioner for Children

"likely that we will produce a report on sexual abuse of children in day care centres"

also refer to The Pinocchio Files

Heather writes to Peter Ellis offering support   (pdf 67 kB)

A "friend" of Peter Ellis writes to him offering her support.  Some time later she writes again withdrawing that support.

The document includes an extract from "A City Possessed" in which a woman takes $10000 from the ACC compensation scheme

April 1992 - Paul Norris of TVNZ writes to Lianne Dalziel   (pdf 86 kB)

In responding to Lianne Dalziel, this site ( notes that Lianne Dalziel had written to TVNZ in her official capacity as MP for Christchurch Central, and not as a person more intimately involved with the creche complainants. Dalziel publicly admitted her personal interest in the creche case a decade later

"I am sorry to read of your concerns about our coverage of the child abuse allegations at the Christchurch Civic Child Care Centre"

Christchurch City Council - Meeting for Crèche Parents March 31  

March 20: Letter to Parents
March 31: Information Pack given to parents at meeting
                Interesting two versions of one document
April 7: Letter to parents who did not attend the March 31 meeting, enclosing information pack

March 29 - Grandmother 'Walnut" writes to the Mayor of Christchurch    (pdf 709 kB)

New June 18 2007 - Note the large file size  (Names changed to those used in the book "A City Possessed")
"It's a known fact that the worst abused children are the ones who talk least about their own abuse"
"Sexual abuse often leads to low self esteem, drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders, teen age pregnancies" "Do all of these children have to undergo aids tests?"

March 26 - Prime Minister (Jim Bolger) requests information on case    (pdf 60 kB)

New June 23 2007
Memorandum, Christchurch City Council, by Sally Latham
"On 20 March I received a phone call from Grace Todd (ECE), Ministry of Education, Christchurch, requesting us to provide a current list of staff employed at the Civic Childcare Centre, plus each person's qualification. This information had been requested by the Prime Minister's Office and was provided by me.  Further information on the centre was requested at the same time by the PM's office, although most of it was held on file at the MOE in Christchurch. Alistair Graham was also contacted by MOE for further information".   Sally Latham.

March 26 - Complainant parent writes to Creche    (pdf 20 kB)

"It's au revoir - not goodbye !!
"Much love and many many thanks to the BIG END
"for so many years of loving care and laughs"   xxxx

March 23 - Letter by Ellis Lawyer Chris Knight to Police    (pdf 64 kB)

Follow up letter to request for information from the 10 March, noting that the police have not responded.

March 10 - Letter by Ellis Lawyer Chris Knight to Police    (pdf 117 kB)

Letter requesting file on Peter Ellis, following informal advice that a widespread inquiry is taking place…. Requesting urgency