A small secretariat leads and coordinates the Crown’s response to the Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry.

The Secretariat, Crown Response to the Abuse in Care Inquiry was set up because the Royal Commission will have a big impact on the work of government agencies. The Royal Commission needs access to a lot of information held by agencies. The secretariat makes sure that agencies respond quickly and helpfully to the Royal Commission’s requests and recommendations throughout the life of the Inquiry, expected to be four years.

The secretariat:

  • coordinates the supply of information from government agencies to the Royal Commission,
  • develops frameworks and templates for agency responses on specific issues, and
  • is the Government response’s primary contact-point with the Royal Commission.



The secretariat was set up in February 2019 and is a semi-autonomous unit housed within Oranga Tamariki. It has eleven staff (as at October 2021), including eight full-time and three part-time people:

  • Full time: Director, three Chief Advisors, Senior Advisor, General Counsel, Policy Analyst, Team Administrator
  • Part-time: Chief Advisor Māori, Principal Advisor, Senior Communications Advisor

The Secretariat coordinates agency responses to the Royal Commission, drawing on people within agencies to do the response work.


Governance and management


The Crown Response's governance and operating structure


Strategic governance of the Crown response is provided by a Sponsoring Group comprising the Chief Executives of Oranga Tamariki, the Ministries of Education, Health, and Social Development, and the Crown Law Office. The nominated 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 working-level oversight of the Crown response. The group includes representatives of the agencies most directly involved in State care, or holding key records about care history (Ministry of Social Development, Oranga Tamariki, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Department of Corrections, Ministry of Justice, Archives New Zealand, New Zealand Police, Te Puni Kōkiri, Public Service Commission, Crown Law Office, ACC).


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.



Our Director 

Alana Ruakere is Director of the Secretariat, Crown Response to the Abuse in Care Inquiry. 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 secretariat’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.


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