Case 21: ‘The Wanganui Affair’ (WHANGANUI CHRONICLES – PART II)


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WHANGANUI, MANAWATU. On the 15th of May 1920, Wanganui citizens were shocked by a crime that involved their elected Mayor. The crime was reported on later in the New Zealand Truth newspaper, “The evidence which was adduced makes the case one of the most sensational in the annals of the New Zealand courts. Indeed, it would be hard to imagine a more extraordinary sequence of happenings. Charles Mackay, in his public business life, was a popular and successful man, but there was another and hideous side to his nature -- a Jekyll as well as a Hyde to his character, and [Walter D’Arcy] Cresswell, a returned soldier, unmasked the debonair Mayor and discovered him to be another Oscar Wilde, morally unclean; a pursuer of perverted and putrid ‘pleasures’”.

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