AWINZ trustees’ defamation proceedings using Lord Dowding/Humane Research Fund charity money

Item 6 in The Royal Society of New Zealand Alert Newsletter 743 states:

6. New Zealand Fund for Humane Research (Lord Dowding Fund) research grant

The Animal Welfare Institute of New Zealand [AWINZ] is seeking expressions of interest for a grant of $20,000 from the New Zealand Fund for Humane Research (Lord Dowding Fund).

The grant will be for research that will contribute to the replacement or reduction of the use of animals in research, testing or teaching, but will not itself involve the use of any animals or animal tissue.

Expressions of interest must be received no later than 28 February 2013. To do this, and/or to seek further information, please email Neil Wells (

The final decision will be made on or before 30 April 2013.

Item 6 Posted 15 November 2012.


The Society (SPCS) has published on its website its investigations into the activities of AWINZ (The Animal Welfare Institute of New Zealand), an unincorporated charitable trust of which Auckland barrister Neil Edward Wells is “the Settlor” of its alleged “Deed of Trust and Revocation” dated 5th December 2006.

AWINZ was registered as a charity with the Charities Commission on 28 September 2007 (Reg. No. CC11235) and has spent $126,850 over four years (2007 to 2011) on defamation proceedings taken by three of its trustees against a ‘whistler blower’ – Ms Grace Haden, a registered private investigator – who has sought to highlight alleged fraudulent and corrupt practices involving the charity and its trustees. The funding for these proceedings, filed in the name of AWINZ trustee Neil Wells of 1308 State Highway 3 Rd 5, Te Kuiti 3985, and two other trustees – Graeme John Coutts and Winifred (Wyn) Norien Hoadley QSO, came from the AWINZ money – specifically a National Bank Term Deposit designated “Lord Dowding Fund” (“LDF”).

Legal proceedings by AWINZ against Ms Haden have continued since Neil Wells filed the last set of AWINZ financial accounts for the year ending 30 June 2011. As the 2012 AWINZ financial accounts are not yet available on the Charities website (they were due to be filed no later than 31/12/12), it is unclear how much more of the “LDF” money has been allegedly mis-used by Neil Edward Wells and his colleagues to advance their case against Ms Haden (they are currently seeking to liquidate her company Verisure Investigations Ltd and bankrupt her) and gain pecuniary benefits from the attempted prosection.

A recent notification on the Charities website indicates that the AWINZ 2012 financials have just been received , but the documents remain “restricted” (no reason given). It is noteworthy that AWINZ trustees Neil Edward Wells and Wyn Norien Hoadley have personally received $50,000 and $16,800 respectively from Court awards for “damages” in their joint -defamation case against Ms Haden. Neither beneficiary has personally funded the Court proceedings as the money has all come from LDF.

The Lord Dowding Funds (“LDF”) have been recorded on the Charities website in AWINZ Funds records as $98,208 (2007); $90,000 (2008); $44,000 (2009); $46,281 (2010); $48.209 (2011), with interest earned separately recorded as $9,712 (2007); $7,737 (2008); $3,731 (2009); $2,345 (2010); $1,968 (2011).

The opening accumulated reserves for AWINZ was recorded as $119,767 and $110,226 for 2007 and 2008 respectively. The majority of this money was designated “LDF” money, including interest earned.
According to AWINZ (alleged) Minutes dated 10th May 2006, funds from Beauty with Compassion (BWC), [an incorporated society which was struck off the Societies Register on 6th September 2000], “became part of the operating funds” of AWINZ. This transfer must have occurred some time after Neil Wells wrote to the Secretary of the now defunct BWC, Lucille Heather. on 14th March 2005, as Trustee of AWINZ, soliciting money from BWC for AWINZ, and before 10th May 2006.
Wells recorded in the AWINZ (alleged) Minutes dated 10th May 2006, that “$90,000 is held as deposit for the Lord Dowding Fund … the “balance handed to AWINZ” in 2005.
“Haden Legal costs” incurred by AWINZ are recorded on the Charities website as: $32,312 (2007); $12,904 (2008); $60,150 (2009); $21,484 (2010). This is a total of $126,850.
The only “LDF grant” ever issued by AWINZ since it was registered as a charity on 28 September 2007 was made in 2008 – a grant of $5,750 –  for “research into measuring stress levels in animals kept in custody for long periods”(recipient unstated). [Source: AWINZ Minutes 10/05/2006]. This money came from $8,208 of interest earnt by AWINZ on the LDF “Capital Sum of $90,000″, which had been “credited to the AWINZ general account”. [Source: Email: Chris McIntyre, Charities Commission, to Neil Wells 07/09/2009].
What then has happened to the LDF money in excess of $100,000 transferred to AWINZ from BWC and what is the link to The New Zealand Fund for Humane Research (“NZFFHR”)?
Clearly the bulk of the LDF money ($126,850) has been used to fund defamation proceedings against a registered private investigator Grace Haden. The proceedings had to be lodged in the name of the majortity of the trustees of AWINZ, rather than by AWINZ, because this charitable trust has never been incorporated under the Charitable Trusts Act 1957.
Now AWINZ/Neil Wells is calling for “expressions of interest” from researchers for charity grant money from its so-called “New Zealand Fund for Humane Research (Lord Dowding Fund)“, the same fund that is being used to assist Wells, Coutts and Hoadley pursue and prosecute Grace Haden in the Courts, and gain pecuniary benefit by way of “damages awards”.
The New Zealand Fund for Humane Research (NZFFHR) is effectively a defunct incorporated charitable trust of which Neil Wells has been a trustee since 1983. It remains on the Register of Charitable Trusts ( No. 212230) and was incorporated on 14 August 1981.

The New Zealand Fund for Humane Research (“NZFFHR”) is not associated in any way with the Lord Dowding Fund (“LDF”) and therefore has no right to use its name. Neil Edward Wells is a trustee of both NZFFHR and AWINZ and has merged both NZFFHR and LDF in his call for “expressions of interest” for a $20,000 “New Zealand Fund for Humane Research (Lord Dowding Fund) research grant”. However, they are distinct organisations and “not associated in any way,” according to the Executive Assistant of LDF.

The LDF was founded in 1973 in honour of the President of the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS), Air Chief Marshall the Lord Dowding. For more details go see: and

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               The Royal Society of New Zealand Alert Newsletter 743 (posted 15/11/2012)

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