11 Dec 2014

Teacher's partner denies abuse claims

5:38 pm on 11 December 2014

A man who has identified himself as Ronald Thomas's partner says the former teacher did not flee Australia in 1970 after accusations of child abuse.

Mr Thomas is now living near Tangimoana, in Manawatu, nearly four decades later.

An Australian Royal Commission into institutional responses to child abuse has been told Mr Thomas habitually abused boys while teaching music at Hutchins School in Hobart in the 1960s.

Mr Thomas did not agree to an interview with Radio New Zealand News but another man - who said he was Mr Thomas' partner - did, saying Mr Thomas was upset and stressed.

He said Mr Thomas rejected the accusations including the claim he fled to South Africa days before his expected arrest.

He said the former teacher would wait until the commission contacted him to give his side of the story.

New Zealand police said earlier that they had not been approached by Australian authorities in relation to Mr Thomas.

The Teacher's Council has confirmed Mr Thomas taught in New Zealand for at least 12 years, between 1990 and 2002, before retiring.

A spokesperson said the council was unaware of the allegations until yesterday and no complaints were made against him while he was a registered teacher here.