Breaking Silence: The Kahui Case

Author(s): Ian Wishart

Social issues | New Zealand Authors

The most controversial book on family violence published this year, BREAKING SILENCE was initially banned from major book chains after a 50,000 strong Facebook boycott campaign ripped across New Zealand, Australia, the United States and the UK protesting its publication. The boycott campaign had been based on false information, however, and designed to deliberately whip up public hysteria during a Coroner's Court hearing into the deaths of two twins. Now that the book has been published the critics are praising it. Breaking Silence uses the life story of mother Macsyna King as the narrative to explore the problem of intergenerational child abuse and its impact on modern society. Herself the victim of terrible abuse and abandonment as a child, King's life falls apart when her premature identical twin sons are murdered and the father is charged with the crime. Although we frequently hear "about" such cases, it is rare to hear "from" one of the key participants in her own words. Breaking Silence is the story of a mother's journey to hell and back, and the search for justice for her twins in the face of a backlash from a society that turned its back on her. It explores and sheds light not just on child abuse and violence in the home, but analyses society's attitude to women in child abuse cases. The latest forensic debates about child abuse injuries are explored, as are the social choices many of us face every day that can lead to disaster.

Product Information

“I believe your book is one of the most important insights I have seen into the social problems NZ has, and how we might start to address them. It is raw and real.” – Christine Rankin, children’s advocate, former head of WINZ and strong critic of Macsyna King


“Brilliant” – Bob McCoskrie, director of Family First, poster of $25,000 reward for information leading to a conviction in the Kahui case


“Just finished reading pre release of the book "Breaking Silence" re the Kahui twin murders. Very moving to hear, "Anne Franks" style, the narrative therapy journey of a mother’s torment through a double murder investigation. Alongside her first hand accounts the co-author elucidates how the jury was confused by technical arguments, when it must have been patently obvious to Police who did it. It is a deep examination of abuse issues, policies that deal with it, professional failings and of how the danger can be right under your own roof when trust is abused.

“It critiques the nature of NZ society, in examining the nasty nature of some victims journeys... when the stigma of homicide rides in to settle on a victim. There's the familiar theme of defense teams spreading slander in unprecedented amounts to blameshift, so as to get the "guilty as sin protege" off. If only Chris had pled guilty I think an assessment may have found him subnormal in intellect, and diminished responsibility seen a lesser sentence to be served in some forensic ward. He comes over very much like some brain injured sociopath killers I've nursed! Then justice would have been meted and the taxpayer could have avoided running a defense strategy sure to destroy a victim’s life.


“This mammoth book is a top achievement & should be a school text. Most other pre readers cried their eyes out.” – Rachael Ford, psychiatric nurse


“I finished the book this morning and man, I've been emotional! That's all that I can think at present - What a friggen mess! Definitely needs to be read!” – Maxine Hemi


“Wow, just finished the book, all you boycotters, what can I say, what was it exactly you are boycotting again and why? You know a book is more than just words it’s the meaning behind the words, that is where we all can learn and grow so much. To ignore that fact means you remain stagnant.” – Katrina Wilson


“There are some boycotters who appear to be in it for the controversy and the fight but seem to have little or no compassion for the victims. There are some who seem to just not like Macsyna King...well if they read the book they would probably find that Macsyna King is more appalled at her past than they could ever be, and I respect her for her honesty......the victims. There are some who seem to just not like Macsyna King...well if they read the book they would probably find that Macsyna King is more appalled at her past than they could ever be, and I respect her for her honesty...” – Paul Mitchell


“I'm pleased NZ’s real underbelly is being exposed - middle NZ needs a wake-up call.” – Lisa Fowler


“Half way through the book had to put it down as I have to work though the anger I am feeling about all the bull shit the New Zealand public was fed and the bloody trial by media. I would like to kick the boycotters’ asses and tell them what really went down!” – Tracey Day

‘The book so many maligned before it came out reveals a mother we haven't met. When I last wrote about Macsyna King, I said I didn't think I'd like her. I've changed my mind. I certainly think she outclasses the Wellington radio announcer who posted on Facebook that after receiving her advance copy of Breaking Silence, she had "spat on it, wiped my ass on it, and ripped it up". "Oh, how we've loved to hate her. But the woman who emerges from the book is a far more complex human being. There isn't the space here to list the ways in which she's been unfairly maligned. Yes, she made incredibly dumb choices. But she's smart, hard-working, big on cleanliness and loved her kids.’

General Fields

  • : 9780987657305
  • : Howling At The Moon Publishing Ltd
  • : Howling At The Moon Publishing Ltd
  • : June 2011
  • : 210x145mm
  • : New Zealand
  • : August 2011
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Ian Wishart
  • : Paperback
  • : 1
  • : 295