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.

We want to make sure you, and the tamariki in your care, know where to go to find out more. 


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 tamariki, rangatahi and vulnerable adults in care between 1950 and 1999.

The Commission can make recommendations to help avoid future abuse based on the lessons of the past, and to improve redress systems. To inform those recommendations, this can include hearing from people who were in care at any point after 1999 or are currently in care.

The Commission began its investigations in January 2019 and its final report is due by 28 Maehe 2024.

Our role

The Government has agreed on a set of 6 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 tamariki, rangatahi 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, kaimahi, 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 or call our general enquiry line: 0508 326 459.

The Terms of Reference for the Royal Commission of Inquiry were recently amended, which you can read about on their website.

Children currently in care

While the Inquiry will focus on the 1950s through to the 1990s, it has the ability to hear from tamariki and rangatahi who were in care after 1999, or who are currently in care.

Oranga Tamariki needs to hear about any safety concerns for tamariki 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 tamariki and rangatahi currently in care.

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

We work closely with the Ministry of Social Development to resolve claims that span before and after 1 Āperira 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 will keep the public informed, and we’ll keep our website updated as the Inquiry progresses.

Visit the Royal Commission website

The Royal Commission released their first interim report in Tīhema 2020. Read the report.

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.

Read the redaction guidance document - (PDF 282KB)

General queries

For more information contact:

You can contact the Royal Commission at:

For general information about the Royal Commission visit their website

Media queries

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