Tony Veitch on responsibility, recovery and redemption


It’s fairly brave to pull the scab off having kicked his partner in the spine and then trying to take his own life.

It is 10 years since I turned from the man I’d always wanted to be, to a man I could not control. In January 2006 I made a huge mistake, a grave misjudgment on my behalf that has impacted the lives of many people and for that I am truly sorry.

Even though it was the only time that I have ever lashed out in my life, once was too much. I should have walked away, but instead I hurt someone and I can’t ever make that go away.

I have spent hours alone and in counselling sessions considering my actions that night and wondering why I ever allowed myself to get to that point.

There is no justifiable answer. I have imagined every conceivable scenario to have avoided what I did, but in the end, they were my actions. I take responsibility for that and I will do for the rest of my life.

Poor judgment on my behalf changed so much that day and I apologise unreservedly for that.

I live with what I did every day and as a result of my role in media, I live with it everywhere.

For those who need a reminder what “it” is, this, from a 2009 Stuff article:

“During the argument the Defendant (Veitch) stood in front of the Complainant’s face, forcing her backward against a wall,” the summary of facts in the police file says.

Ms Dunne-Powell slid down the wall toward the floor and “and as she moved to escape sideways (Veitch) kicked her two to three times to the back of the thigh”, it said.

The file said she left and was “shaken and frightened by the assault.”

The next charge related to an incident between April 14, 2003 and April 9, 2005 at a cottage in Mangawhai. The couple argued and Veitch grabbed Ms Dunne-Powell and threw her on a bed, according to the file.

The police file says: “The Defendant stood over the Complainant shouting at her as she lay on her back, then picked up a glass of water from the side table and threw the content into the Complainant’s face. At one point during the assault the Defendant punched a hole in the wall of the cottage.”

Another incident occurred on June 3, 2005 at the Novotel in Rotorua, according to the summary.

In the room Veitch grabbed Ms Dunne-Powell from “behind with both hands and lifted her off her feet and threw her onto the bed”, the police file said.

The summary of facts file says he pinned her to the bed and she later fled.

At Veitch’s St Heliers Bay home on July 8, 2005 the two argued again. Veitch chased her upstairs into the bedroom and then blocked her escape.

“As (Ms Dunne-Powell) lowered herself to the floor to get away (Veitch) kicked her in her right thigh with a force so hard it spun her onto her back,” the summary says.

He kicked her twice more and she suffered severe bruising. On the morning of July 5, 2005 at the home they argued again.

The police summary says Veitch jumped on her as she lay in bed “with his knees at hip height and punched the complainant once in the torso with his left hand while shouting at her.”

In December 2005 at the home Veitch grabbed Ms Dunne-Powell “by both arms and pulled her out of the room and down the stairs to the front door entrance.”

Inside the front door he kicked her a number of times on both legs.

None of these incidents were tested in court after the majority of charges were dropped.

However, the incident that related to the charge Veitch pleaded guilty to, is also in the file.

It occurred on January 29, 2006 where a heated argument occurred. Veitch kicked her two to three times in her back.

“The blows caused the complainant to collapse on the floor screaming. (Veitch) crouched down beside the complainant and asked if she was ‘OK’ as she repeated she wasn’t. Unable to move from her position on the floor (Veitch) provided the victim a pillow for her head.”

Veitch then went to sleep and Ms Dunne-Powell dragged herself to the bed.

“She woke some time later sweaty and nauseous and with an urgent need to go to the toilet.

“As the Defendant slept on, the Victim dragged herself to the en-suite toilet,” the summary says.

“On making it to the toilet she collapsed on the floor and heard the Defendant yell ‘what the f**** going on now’ as he entered the bathroom.”

Ms Dunne-Powell pleaded with Veitch to call an ambulance but he said “I’m not having an ambulance come to this house.”

He eventually took her to the Auckland Emergency Department at 4am, leaving her there at 6am due to work commitments.

Veitch continues

To think of myself as a component of New Zealand’s horrendous family violence statistics is appalling to me. I have embarrassed my family, my Mum and Dad who taught me right from wrong and who taught me to be a good person.

I have distanced myself from cousins, aunties, uncles and from friends because of the shame I feel. They deserve better. I am not looking for sympathy; I accept what I have done and how wrong it was.

While I can’t change what happened that day, I have learned a huge lesson. I am a completely different person from the one I was that day. I breathe now, I don’t live to work. I have learned to understand my body, my triggers for stress and, most importantly, depression. I am constantly amazed at the number of people I come across, who, like me, suffer the effects of severe anxiety.

Some will say I was a coward for trying to take my life, maybe I was. But I have also learned until you are in that position you shouldn’t judge because no one knows how you feel but you.

On the day I was sentenced, oddly, I felt a sense of relief that the facts would come out after years of incorrect allegations being reported in the media. There was talk of me being a P-addict and that I had thrown my girlfriend down the stairs — both completely untrue. While the misinformation continues, coming to terms with people’s judgment of me based on this has been a huge part of my recovery.  […]

Every day what I have done casts a shadow over my future; when I walk into restaurants or my local service station of course I wonder what people are thinking when they look at me.

Perhaps I will never be free from being associated with family violence. I have accepted what I did was wrong and I reiterate there is no excuse for what I did.

Thankfully I am not that person any more and my promise to myself, but most importantly to every one of the people’s lives I changed that day, is that I will never be that person again.

The industry that loves him so has given him a chance to rebuild his life.  It reflects the fact that we can all do wrong, slip up, and this doesn’t have to define who we were before it, and after it.

I can never respect Veitch for what he did.   But I can respect him for what he has done since.


– Tony Veitch, NZ Herald, Stuff, Various agencies


If you're in danger NOW:

• Phone the police on 111 or ask neighbours of friends to ring for you
• Run outside and head for where there are other people
• Scream for help so that your neighbours can hear you
• Take the children with you
• Don't stop to get anything else
• If you are being abused, remember it's not your fault. Violence is never okay

Where to go for help or more information:

• Women's Refuge: Free national crisisline operates 24/7 - 0800 REFUGE or 0800 733 843
• ShineFree national helpline 9am- 11pm every day - 0508 744 
• It's Not Ok: Information line 0800 456 450 
• Shakti: Providing specialist cultural services for African, Asian and Middle Eastern women and their children. Crisisline 24/7 0800 742 584
• Ministry of Justice: 
• National Network of Stopping Violence: 
• White Ribbon: Aiming to eliminate men's violence towards women, focusing this year on sexual violence and the issue of

Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
Youth services: (06) 3555 906 (Palmerston North and Levin)
Youthline: 0800 376 633
Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
Samaritans: 0800 726 666 (available 24/7)
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.




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  • Ceebee

    I used to be a fan, but there can be no excuse – it wasn’t a one-off thing, but a pattern of behaviour.
    When he comes on the radio now I turn it off.

    • Nige.

      Mark Watson is a far better entertainer too.

  • Mark

    The start of this weeks campaign & the Feral Editorial with no excuse ever to hit a woman,annoyed me so much I had tuned out all the noise & was ignoring it.

    Again because of WO I have digested info I may not normally have seen or sought.

    I was never a fan & am not now,but it does take courage to “Pull that scab” Tony has my respect for speaking out,I suspect he well realises I don’t care much if it provides him comfort,but I hope it gives some to Ms Dunne-Powell.

    My hope is that his message reaches some of those it my not normally have gotten through to,good on him for that & I wish him well in his continued management of his problem & the rebuilding he has done.

  • RightofSingapore

    Self serving dribble from a narcissistic coward and thug. He talks about “that day” as if its was a one off, that summary of facts suggests a pattern of behavior. The fact he wasn’t jailed is an outrage.

    • dragonfly

      I agree – there’s just something wrong with the tone of this – it brings up no emotion in me – there is something missing.

    • Keyser Soze

      Spent any time in Court lately? I suggest you head along and sit in the gallery… prepare to be amazed at what people don’t get sent to prison for.

  • Anonymous like you? That’s drawing a long bow.

    • CoNZervative

      Well in the sense that I’m not a Teev personality (small P) and don’t have a narcissistic need to advise the nation (by Teev) a decade on about my feelings about being a wife-basher and keeping the nation appraised of my personal emotional developemnt in life; I note Tony ‘Campolo’ is front and center on STUFFagain this morning “What Apology?” (sigh) re-victimisation!

  • hookerphil

    At least when he went into the toilet he didn’t take his cricket bat and gun.

    • Keyser Soze

      A variation of that could go on a wicked camper?

  • JEL51

    From a Mum’s perspective….. it is up to each as a family member, to step-in when ever there is a need. Not knowing anything other than observing the face & voice on both radio & tv at the time, Tony was obviously burning the candle at both ends as the demands of the two jobs grew. I would imagine few of us would recognize the signs with-in our selves when being committed to doing a good job, that we are in over-load. In some ways bosses, colleagues & friends should shoulder some of the blame.

  • Catriona

    Sorry, Tony. I’ll never have respect for you or anyone else for that matter who behaves like a violent thug. The problem with Veitch is that his ego is way out of control even now. With people like him, you’ll never know when they’re going to strike again.

  • Keyser Soze

    Have to say I’m quite surprised at the level of animosity and lack of forgiveness on WO. He’s just a sports personality and it’s not like he attacked you lot personally! People make mistakes. People have personal weaknesses. Celebrities, even C list ones, are not immune.

    Kudos to Veitch for expressing what appears to be genuine remorse and taking steps to sort himself out. Even if I can’t stand his show!

  • old school

    This article details at least 6 incidents. What puzzles me is why she didn’t leave after the first one.

    • Miss McGerkinshaw

      I always thought the same thing.
      Until that is I was in an abusive relationship (psychologically not physically) and it took for me to become suicidal before I figured it was time to leave. Even then it took a few attempts.

      And we didn’t have children, I have always worked so not reliant on a partner for money so there was not ‘reason’ for me to stay.

    • anniem

      Wonder why all the charges were dropped except fro the one he was convicted of?

  • Andy

    Speaking out and changing is best outcome considering, but I hope you are not expecting to get a lucrative job and be a celeb?

  • Jman

    There’s no excuse for a man to ever hit a woman under any circumstances and someone who does it 6 or more times as it appears he did according to this article is scum in my books. I hope he has changed his ways but I sure as hell would never let any female member of my family near the guy.