Telling the stories of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, NZ and Polynesia

Poems deal with sexual abuse

Sexual abuse is the subject of a new volume of poems by Christchurch poet, Dr Jane Simpson, who shares her poetic reflections on the experiences of survivors of historic abuse by Anglican clergy.

Taonga News  |  22 Mar 2024

Sexual abuse is the central theme of Dr Jane Simpson’s new book, ‘Shaking the Apple Tree’, which will be launched tomorrow in Christchurch and centres on the experience of women who suffered sexual abuse within the Anglican Church.

Dr Simpson focuses on the experiences of many survivors of historic abuse who reported additional trauma when the Church failed to acknowledge the harm inflicted on them, or take appropriate action to bring perpetrators to justice.

Dr Simpson began to write the poems following the death of a clergyman known to have abused women in the Diocese of Christchurch.

Some poems draw on evidence given to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care and from testimonies in books written by abuse survivors.

Other poems draw on evidence given at hearings to secure a settlement for a New Zealand woman abused in a pastoral setting by her priest.

The book closes with poems expressing the author’s love and concern for all those who have suffered from sexual abuse.

Dr Jane Simpson will launch her new book, ‘Shaking the Apple Tree’, at All Souls Church in Merivale, Christchurch at 7.00pm on Saturday, 23 March.

The launch will be livestreamed on All Souls’ Merivale Facebook livestream here. 

The book can be purchased online for NZ$25.00 + p&p from