Royal Commission of Inquiry

Published: September 10, 2021

Information about the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State Care and in the Care of Faith-based Institutions, and the role Oranga Tamariki will play.

Background and our role

A Royal Commission is a public inquiry, generally reserved for the most serious issues of public importance. It’s fully independent and the Commissioners decide how to run it.

The Abuse in Care Inquiry was set up in response to the calls made for several years, by individuals and groups in Aotearoa New Zealand and abroad, for an independent inquiry into abuse in care. It follows inquiries into similar issues in other countries, including Australia, Canada and Scotland.

The Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State Care and in the Care of Faith-based Institutions investigates what happened to children, young people and vulnerable adults in care between 1950 and 1999. This can include hearing from people who were in care at any point after 1999 or are currently in care.

The Government has agreed on a set of six principles to guide how government agencies and the Crown respond to the Royal Commission. These are manaakitanga, openness, transparency, learning, being joined up, and meeting our obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

We are committed to upholding the mana of all those involved in the Inquiry which involves many Crown agencies which support children, young people and vulnerable adults in care.

The establishment of the Royal Commission is an important step to learn from the past, but this work is far from over.

Our role includes responding to requests for information, attending public hearings and working with other government agencies to support the Royal Commission.

Sharing information with the Royal Commission of Inquiry

In order to support the Royal Commission in conducting its inquiry, Oranga Tamariki will comply with requests to supply information made by the Royal Commission. Information shared may include personal information about care experienced individuals, their whānau, caregivers, staff, or others involved in State Care.

Both Oranga Tamariki and the Royal Commission are committed to protecting people’s privacy. Any information shared will only be used to enable the Royal Commission to meet the requirements in their Terms of Reference. A legal order has been issued preventing public access to any of these documents without the Royal Commission’s permission, including any personal information that may be contained. More details can be found on the Royal Commission’s website.

If you have any questions about Oranga Tamariki involvement in the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in State Care and in the Care of Faith-based Institutions you can email Statecareinquiry@ot.govt.nz or call our general enquiry line: 0508 326 459.

The Terms of Reference for the RCI were recently amended. You can find more information about this here.

Children currently in care

While the Inquiry will focus on the 1950s to 1990s, Oranga Tamariki needs to hear about any safety concerns for children who are currently in care.

Our current processes for raising concerns will remain in place.

Historic claims

We are responsible for managing concerns about the safety of children and young people currently in care.

The Ministry of Social Development’s (MSD) Historic Claims team is responsible for managing claims from people who have experienced abuse or neglect in care before 1 April 2017.

We work closely with MSD to resolve claims that span before and after 1 April 2017.

Find out more about the Historic Claims process on the MSD website

Keeping up to date

Information on the Inquiry, including the Terms of Reference and how people can take part in proceedings, can be found on the Royal Commission's website. 

The Royal Commission released their first interim report in December 2020. You can find the report here.

Public hearings

Public hearings will be held throughout the Inquiry.  Through public hearings the Inquiry will hear evidence and information about abuse in State care and faith-based institutions. More information can be found on the Public hearings | Abuse in Care - Royal Commission of Inquiry.

Information about Royal Commission public hearings is available here.

More information

Information on the Crown’s response to the Royal Commission and how agencies are working together is available on the Crown Response website.

General queries

For more information contact:

For general information about the Royal Commission visit their website. You can also call their FreePhone number 0800 222 727 weekdays - (NZT) 8am-6pm.

Media queries

Media enquiries should be directed to the Oranga Tamariki Media team and include the Oranga Tamariki Inquiry Team.

media@ot.govt.nz

statecareinquiry@ot.govt.nz