Film on ‘four years of hell’ seeks funds

The castle at Campbell Park Estate. PHOTO: ODT FILES
The castle at Campbell Park Estate. PHOTO: ODT FILES
A survivor of abuse at Campbell Park School is seeking $2 million to make his and others’ experiences into a film.

Author Darryl Smith claims he was abused in various institutions across New Zealand and Australia, including the Waitaki Valley school.

He said he began as a state ward there in 1974 and spent "four years of hell" suffering abuse, including being raped by older boys.

The film he planned to make about the experience, called Silent No More, would "hold nothing back".

The New Zealand government has paid out $1.1 million to settle 55 claims of abuse at the school from 2004 to 2019.

In 2012, Mr Smith received apologies from the Australian and New Zealand governments and in 2019 he travelled to the Vatican to meet Pope Francis to discuss the abuse.

He also self-published two books about the abuse he suffered, which sold hundreds of copies each.

Despite never having made a film before, he believed he had a good grasp on what it would take and how much it would cost.

"If you’re going to make a real good movie, you’ve got to do it properly."

He believed his goal of $2 million realistic and had no doubts he would reach it.

"I don’t stop until I get what I want."

He had been asking businesses in Oamaru to help fund the picture, as the issue was relevant to the community and the film would be shot in Waitaki.

"It has to happen.

"We need a movie like this in New Zealand to help survivors."

He had a director willing to work on the project if the funding came through, he said.