Fa'amoana Luafutu, 69, has shared his story at the inquiry into historical abuse in care sitting in South Auckland.
The Royal Commission has opened a two-week hearing into the harm and impacts on Pasifika peoples of abuse in state or faith-based care.
The hearing opened on Monday with a traditional Pacific welcome at the Fale o Samoa in Māngere.
Fa'amoana Luafutu came out from Samoa at the age of eight in 1960.
On his first day at school, the teachers said they could not pronounce his name and immediately changed it to John.