New Zealand Politician Accused of Punching Atheist Teacher in the Head for Not Praying at Event

Back in April, we posted a brief story about Christopher Scott Roy, an art teacher from New Zealand who said he was fired because of his atheism.

At the time, details of his story were hard to come by. Now, we have a little more information — and it’s all sorts of scandalous. (So we should all take this with a *huge* grain of salt.)

The biggest surprise involves Alfred Ngaro, a National Party member of the New Zealand Parliament:

Alfred Ngaro

Roy, who taught at Tamaki College (which caters to students we Americans normally consider high-school age), now says that he once had a confrontation with Ngaro over his beliefs:

[Roy told Employment Relations Authority] member Tania Tetitaha that in 2009 he was assaulted by Ngaro as he was leaving a First XV rugby after-match function at Kings College.

At the time Ngaro was a board of trustees member. He later entered Parliament in 2011 as an Auckland-based list MP.

Kings College officials had asked if anyone objected to a prayer or karakia being said before they ate.

Roy said he did not take part due to his atheism but rather looked around the room as everyone else bowed their head.

Ngaro, whose son was in the Tamaki First XV, came up to him and got “right in my face” after the prayer, Roy told the ERA hearing, eyeballing him just a few centimetres from his face.

Representatives from Kings College saw the behaviour and asked after his well-being, and if he wanted security guards present, Roy said. As he went to leave he was confronted outside by Ngaro, who lashed out at him, punching him on the back of his head.

Members of the First XV broke up the fight, Roy told the hearing.

As he was driving some of the boys home, they told him he was bleeding from the back of his head.

Ngaro denies any wrongdoing.

Roy also added in his claim that he was punished for not attending a pōwhiri ceremony at the school in 2010. Principal Soana Pamaka said attendance was mandatory, and the event wasn’t religious at all, though Roy said the ceremony had “numerous references to Christianity.”

It’s possible this whole claim could be thrown out because it happened so long ago and Roy didn’t take action until recently. Furthermore, Roy signed a settlement agreement with the school last year, though he now says that “he was under duress and had no access to legal advice at the time the record of settlement was signed.”

If anyone from the area can shed more light on what’s happening here, it’d be very appreciated!

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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