10 episodes

For more than five years, New Zealand investigative journalist Aaron Smale has been digging into the injustices - and crimes - of the state welfare system of Aotearoa New Zealand. Of all the unbelievable stories he has investigated, none is more shocking than what happened to children and adolescents at Lake Alice Psychiatric Hospital in the 1970s under the supervision of head psychiatrist Selwyn Leeks. This podcast contains descriptions of physical, sexual and psychological abuse perpetrated against children, as well as swearing, and frank discussions about mental health and suicide. Take care when and where you listen.

The Lake Stuff

    • True Crime
    • 5.0 • 129 Ratings

For more than five years, New Zealand investigative journalist Aaron Smale has been digging into the injustices - and crimes - of the state welfare system of Aotearoa New Zealand. Of all the unbelievable stories he has investigated, none is more shocking than what happened to children and adolescents at Lake Alice Psychiatric Hospital in the 1970s under the supervision of head psychiatrist Selwyn Leeks. This podcast contains descriptions of physical, sexual and psychological abuse perpetrated against children, as well as swearing, and frank discussions about mental health and suicide. Take care when and where you listen.

    Two Little Boys | 1

    Two Little Boys | 1

    As Rangi Wickliffe and Tyrone Marks go through the hell of New Zealand’s state welfare system, the boys form a powerful bond of friendship. Their journey is one of neglect and mistreatment, but also adventure and skulduggery, on the road to the notorious Lake Alice Psychiatric Facility.

    • 48 min
    The National Grid | 2

    The National Grid | 2

    Rangi and Tyrone are in an institution unlike any they’ve been in before. There’s no other children, for a start, only mentally unwell and dangerous adult patients. But in 1972 they are joined by other kids, when the Lake Alice Child & Adolescent Unit officially opens its doors. Leoni McInroe is 14 when she arrives at Lake Alice, becoming one of the many kids and teenagers subject to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and chemical containment, under the direction of psychiatrist Dr Selwyn Leeks. But is it actually ECT, or is it just a form of torture?

    • 54 min
    The Case of the Niuean Boy | 3

    The Case of the Niuean Boy | 3

    A 13 Year old Niuean boy named Hake Halo smuggles a secret message to his family, written in the speech bubble of a smiling cartoon figure. It says: “fakesoka he fowa au tagi au” or, “I have been given electric shock by the people, Mum. The pain is very bad.” After he’s released, Hake finds an unlikely ally in a pākeha bug-scientist-turned-anti-racism campaigner, who takes Hake’s story to the press. But will it be enough to make the public pay attention?

    • 52 min
    Days of their Lives | 4

    Days of their Lives | 4

    While the NZ public has some idea of what happened to the kids of Lake Alice, the true horror of it lies in unfiltered accounts of the day-to-day. For these children, things like eating dinner, going to bed or watching a movie all came with the possibility of assault, or even torture.

    In this episode, survivors take us inside the Lake Alice child and adolescent unit, to show us how it feels when ‘horrifying’ is your normal.

    Note, this episode contains explicit accounts of physical, sexual and psychological harm perpetrated against children. It is designed to be self-contained, so if you skip ahead to episode 5 all will still make sense.

    • 30 min
    Outrageous In The Extreme | 5

    Outrageous In The Extreme | 5

    Kids could only stay at the Lake Alice Child & Adolescent for so long, and at 16 they were packed up and sent on. We follow the Lake Alice kids as they try to get on with their lives through the 80s and 90s, and meet Kevin Banks, who’s been fighting for justice for more than 40 years.

    Plus, Leoni decides to take on the Crown.

    • 49 min
    One Flew Over the Lake | 6

    One Flew Over the Lake | 6

    There are so many outrageous stories about Lake Alice it can be hard to sort truth from conspiracy. Often something that starts out feeling far-fetched turns out to be true. In this episode: Scientologists, deep sleep experiments & the CIA, and how NZ was found guilty of torture by the United Nations.

    • 49 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
129 Ratings

129 Ratings

Whatarubbishapp ,

Pay these people now!

Horrible how they have not been compensated and their ages keep going up. Soon most will be passing on with no compensation and not enjoying what they are owed! Every one of them deserves compensation in the millions each!

Nickel Bickel ,

The Lake

What an insightful podcast. So many children suffered with long lasting effects through to their adult life. The abuse these young people were subjected to by people in power, by people who were meant to be looking after them and caring for them is disgusting. Another shameful time in our history that still hasn’t been put right.

kevin17! ,

Kevin17!

The most extraordinary and heartbreaking podcast I have listened to.
This should be compulsory listening to all New Zealanders so that we learn and ensure this kind of treatment of young kiwis can never ever happen again!

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