Police announced the arrests today. Photo / Getty Images

Six charged over historic sex offences at Auckland school

The headmaster of Dilworth School says he is appalled by allegations of historical sexual abuse which have lead to charges against six people related to the school.

Headmaster Dan Reddiex, who was appointed last year, said the school had zero tolerance for any abuse of any kind.

Reddiex became principal of Dilworth School last year after spending many years as rector of King's High School in Dunedin.

Reddiex said that "naturally as a father, educator and human being" he found the allegations "appalling" and "deeply saddening".

"I cannot comprehend the trauma or pain those who suffered abuse must have endured, Reddiex said.

"And for this hurt we are truly sorry. And so I want to be absolutely clear, the Dilworth School I know and lead today has zero tolerance for abuse of any kind.

"The health safety and wellbeing of our students is our single greatest priority and responsibility.

"We know that a safe environment is instrumental to our students flourishing both personally and academically."

He said there was no denying the allegations of historical abuse had "cast a dark shadow" on the school.

"We will take all necessary steps to ensure this chapter in our past is never ever repeated again."

Earlier today police announced they had arrested and charged six men after an investigation into historical sexual offending at the school.

Detective Senior Sergeant Geoff Baber said the Auckland City Criminal Investigation Branch had been investigating since a complaint was initially made a year ago.

A number of serious offences allegedly occurred across a number of decades from the 1970s to the early 2000s, Baber said.

"At this stage in our investigation we have identified 17 victims," he said.

A 72-year-old, 73-year-old, 68-year-old, 69-year-old, 72-year-old and 78-year-old have been charged.

They are next expected to appear in the Auckland District Court in October.

Dilworth Trust Board Chair Aaron Snodgrass said the board "was saddened" to hear Old Boys had allegedly suffered abuse while in its care.

He offered their apology to "any Old Boys who have been affected by abuse of any kind at our school".

"The Board considers all forms of abuse, including physical, emotional and sexual abuse unacceptable," Snodgrass said.

"Dilworth has sought not to have the school's name suppressed in connection with the proceedings as we want to discuss our response openly within our school community and Old Boys."

He said the criminal charges were laid against people formerly connected to the school.

"We have been fully engaged with the police throughout their inquiries..."

Regrettably, members of the Old Boys community had allegedly suffered abuse, he said.

"We are truly sorry."

Snodgrass said the Trust Board had earlier commissioned an independent review by leading psychologists.

They also established a confidential free listing service for old boys last year if they want to discuss their experiences with a psychologist.

The current Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care and learnings from similar inquiries overseas were pivotal in the school's decision to proactively address historical abuse with Old Boys and the wider community, he said.