YWCA sends legal letter over article

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Mar 28, 2024 |

Chris Lynch Media received a legal letter at 5PM, Thursday 28th 2024, which we have chosen to publish its contents, in full.

Chris Lynch Christchurch

By email only: [email protected]

Defamation of YWCA and Christine Leliei-Fenika

1. We act for the YWCA.

2. On 22 March 2024, you published:

(a) A headline “Christchurch YWCA’s governance questioned after chair’s lucrative payment”;

(b) An article that contained defamatory statements including that YWCA had:

(i) Agreed to pay Christine $156,200 in her role as president of YWCA;

(ii) Agreed to pay Christine an amount that was well above commercial directorship rates, with the implication that the amounts paid to Christine were for services that were equivalent to those of a commercial director;

(iii) Changed its constitution to financially benefit Christine;

(iv) Not acted transparently or in accordance with proper governance; and

(v) Misused its resources.

3. These statements “lower the estimation of our client by right-thinking members of society” by attacking their reputation and integrity.

(a) The headline and the content of the article degrade the reputation of YWCA by bringing into question YWCA’s governance and reputation.

(b) The statements published by you are untrue and without genuine basis:

(i) Christine functioned as acting General Manager for the YWCA in the period from April 2023 to September 2023, due to the YWCA not having anyone employed in that role in that period. This was a role that went significantly beyond the role that might be expected of a President or of a commercial director;

(ii) In Board meetings, there was discussion regarding what Christine should be paid for performance of these services as acting General Manager for the period from April 2023 to September 2023. The final figure that was

1 Sim v Stretch [1936] 2 All ER 1237.


agreed and paid to Christine was $77,000 (gross). This Board is satisfied that this constituted fair value for the services as acting General Manager

Christine provided to the YWCA;

(iii) Separately, although the Board has proposed changes to the constitution, and called a special general meeting to pursue constitutional changes, none of these changes related to the fees that Christine was paid nor did the proposed changes make the payment possible. No changes to the constitution have in fact been made or implemented as yet;

Retraction and apology

4. We expect a Court would not hesitate to award damages for defamation, absent an adequate retraction and apology by you, given the severity of the defamatory comments, and the impact that the comments would have on the reputation of YWCA and Christine.

5. Our client requires you to:

(a) Immediately remove the article from all internet domains within your control;

(b) Publish on your website and Facebook, an article with the heading “Retraction

of article about YWCA”;

(c) Publish the following for that article:

On Friday, 22 March 2024, Chris Lynch Media published an article about YWCA and its Board. In that article, we reported some details inaccurately. In the article it was wrongly suggested that YWCA’s president had been paid a large sum of money for her undertaking duties as president of YWCA. In the article, we also wrongly accused the Board of changing its constitution to financially benefit the President, and acting not in accordance with proper governance.

Chris Lynch Media regrets publication of that article, and the article has now been removed.

Chris Lynch Media unreservedly apologises to the YWCA and its Board.

(d) Make a contribution toward the YWCA’s legal fees – $2,000.

6. If you fail to do so by 10:00am on Tuesday 2 April 2024 then our client will be obliged to look to commencing court proceedings for defamation.

7. We look forward to confirmation from you that you will action this retraction forthwith.

Yours sincerely


Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

Have you got a news tip? Get in touch here

got a news tip?