Kapiti artist jailed for sexual violation of girls

Artist Brendan Nolan with the gate he made for Paekakariki School in 2006.
Artist Brendan Nolan with the gate he made for Paekakariki School in 2006.

Paekakariki School board has unanimously voted to remove elaborate "taniwha'' school gates sculptured by local convicted child sex offender Brendan Nolan.

Nolan, 55, admitted sexually violating two young girls in 1999 and 2001 before his metal artworks, including the $15,000 Paekakariki School gates, became landmarks on the Kapiti Coast.

He was sentenced to  five years, three months in prison in Wellington District Court yesterday.

In the letter sent to parents today, Paekakariki School Board of Trustees said the impact of Nolan's behaviour on some families in the community had been significant.

"The board feels it is no longer appropriate for Paekakariki school children and their families to be ‘welcomed’ into our school through these gates," the letter stated. 

Nolan earlier described the gates as, "a little bit taniwha, and little bit Harry Potter-style dragon."

About five years ago Kapiti Coast District Council commissioned him to make a $20,000, 4.5-metre high metal tui, which marks the entrance to Paraparaumu Beach.

The council is considering its options regarding the tui sculpture this week.

Councillor and national White Ribbon anti-violence ambassador Tony Lester said he was shocked to hear of Nolan's offending.

"To know that somebody in the community has committed these crimes is truly sickening," Mr Lester said.

Yesterday Nolan's victims described the impact of his offending.

While he continued living his life, his victims struggled to cope with theirs.

"I can't sleep and barely eat," his second victim said in Wellington District Court yesterday.

"I don't trust anyone, I jump when people come too close and I hate it when they touch me. This man stole something from me, something I can't put into words, but I know I'll never get it back."

She had been subjected to degrading acts at Nolan's workshop while her hands were suspended from shackles and from a metal chandelier.

The first victim's mother said in a letter that having to relive the abuse for the courts had a devastating effect on her daughter.

Her daughter would stay at Nolan's house overnight and he would wait for her to fall asleep before carrying her to his bed. The abuse occurred over a two-month period.

Nolan was confronted by a family member of the girl and admitted and apologised for what he did.

Judge John Walker sentenced Nolan to five years, three months' imprisonment on two counts of sexual violation, two of indecent assault and one of inducing an indecent act. The victims were under the age of 12 at the time of the offending.

"There is no doubt that you have contributed to your small community by using your talent as an artist for the community," the judge said. "That contribution to your community can do nothing to reduce the seriousness of your offending."

He accepted Nolan's willingness to undertake treatment for the offending and for alcoholism while in prison.

Contact Kay Blundell
Kapiti reporter
Email: kay.blundell@dompost.co.nz

The Dominion Post