Cardinal John Dew, who is the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Wellington and Metropolitan of New Zealand, made the apology at the Royal Commission into Abuse in Care on behalf of the bishops and congregational leaders in New Zealand.
Cardinal Dew's comments in Auckland were part of witness statements being recorded from faith-based institutions at the Abuse in Care inquiry that is underway to resolve historic and current abuse claims.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern set up the Royal Commission in 2018 saying the country needed to confront "a dark chapter" in its history, and later expanded it to include churches and other faith-based institutions. The inquiry found children, some from
as young as nine months old, suffered years of abuse, which included rape and electric shock treatment, by staff at psychiatric and state care facilities, clergy and foster guardians..