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About

The Crown Response Unit was set up in February 2019 to coordinate the Government’s response to the Royal Commission. It is an autonomous unit housed within Oranga Tamariki.

The Unit makes sure agencies respond quickly and helpfully to the Royal Commission’s information requests and recommendations through to June 2023, when the Royal Commission will end.

Another significant part of the Unit's work is responding to the Royal Commission's interim report on redress, which recommended a new, independent, trauma-informed redress system. Find out more about our work.(external link)

Principles-based approach to the Crown response

The Crown is committed to a principles-based approach in its dealings with the Royal Commission and survivors of abuse in care. The six principles setting out how the Crown will respond to the Royal Commission are:

  1. manaakitanga – that is, treating people with the compassion, fairness, and respect that upholds the mana of all those involved
  2. openness – being receptive to new ideas, and to reconsidering how things have been done in the past and the way agencies operate now
  3. transparency – sharing knowledge and information held by the Crown, including the reasons behind key actions
  4. learning – listening attentively to survivors, learning from the Royal Commission, and using that information to improve systems
  5. being joined up – agencies working together closely, helped by a dedicated secretariat and chief executive sponsoring group, to make sure government engagement with the Royal Commission is coordinated and resulting actions on recommendations are collectively owned, and
  6. meeting obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi – honouring the Treaty principles, meeting Crown obligations and building a stronger Māori-Crown relationship through the way the Crown operates and behaves during this process and after it, when implementing its lessons.

Outcomes

The Crown would like to see the following outcomes from the Royal Commission procesurvivors are heard, and feel heard

  • survivors are heard, and feel heard
  • harm is acknowledged
  • the government care system is improved
  • this type of harm never happens again
  • Māori experiences and their impacts are recognised and respected
  • disabled peoples’ experiences and their impacts are recognised and respected.

Governance and management

Strategic governance of the Crown response is provided by a Sponsoring Group made up of the Chief Executives from:

  • Oranga Tamariki
  • Ministry of Education
  • Manatū Hauora - Ministry of Health
  • Ministry of Social Development
  • Whaikaha-Ministry of Disabled People
  • the Crown Law Office.

The lead Chief Executive is the Secretary of Education, Iona Holsted.

The Minister for the Public Service, Hon Chris Hipkins, is the Minister responsible for the Crown response to the Abuse in Care Inquiry.

An inter-agency group is responsible for oversight of the Crown response. The group includes representatives of the following agencies most directly involved in State care, or holding key records about care history:

  • Ministry of Social Development
  • Oranga Tamariki
  • Manatū Hauora - Ministry of Health
  • Ministry of Education
  • Department of Corrections
  • Ministry of Justice
  • Archives New Zealand
  • New Zealand Police
  • Te Puni Kōkiri
  • Te Kawa Mataaho - Public Service Commission,
  • Whaikaha-Ministry of Disabled People
  • Crown Law Office
  • ACC

Our Director

Alana Ruakere is Director of the Crown Response Unit. Of Taranaki and Te Atiawa descent, Alana has worked extensively across social, education and health (Māori, mental and child health) settings.

Before joining us in early 2020, Alana was acting Director for the Family Violence/Sexual Violence Joint Venture. Before that, she led Whānau Ora Commissioning at Te Puni Kōkiri.

Alana says the Unit’s values of listening, learning and changing (Mā Whakarongo me Ako ka huri te tai) are a natural fit for her.

 “My father, the late Dr Tony Ruakere, advised his children to listen first and speak last. Taking that forward to my role today, this means learning from voices other than your own, so we can improve peoples’ lives. I am loving the opportunity to contribute to the Crown’s engagement with and support for the Royal Commission and survivors of abuse in care,” she says.

Our logo

Here is a breakdown of each element of the Crown response logo:

  • Listening, learning, changing conveys the three essential elements of the Crown response to the Abuse in Care Inquiry.
  • Mā Whakarongo me Ako ka huri te tai is a whakatauāki (proverb) meaning “listen and learn to create change”.
  • Crown Response to the Abuse in Care Inquiry is our organisational title – it has been chosen to clearly differentiate us from the Abuse in Care Inquiry itself.
  • The Crown crest is a symbol of the whole of Crown response to the Abuse in Care Inquiry.

 

 

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