22 Sep 2021

Abuse in Care royal commission: Helen Potiki appointed executive director

3:45 pm on 22 September 2021

The acting executive director of the Abuse in Care Royal Commission has been appointed to lead the inquiry through to its conclusion in 2023.

The Ministry for Women principal policy analyst Helen Potiki.

The Ministry for Women's Helen Potiki says people young and old want to find a middle ground where talanoa (talks) about violence can take place. Photo: RNZ Daniela Maoate-Cox

Helen Potiki has been acting in the role since July, replacing Mervin Singham who now heads the Ministry for Ethnic Communities.

Potiki has been a public servant for 18 years in roles including deputy chief executive of the Housing and Urban Development Ministry, acting chief executive of the Ministry for Women and leading government delegations to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

She was also involved in establishing the new Ministry for Ethnic Communities.

The Commission chair, Judge Coral Shaw, said as interim executive director Potiki had been committed to ensuring the commission's work continued to be survivor-focused, implemented the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and sought to reveal the extent and nature of historical abuse in state and faith-based care.

"The Commissioners and I welcome Helen to the Inquiry as the new executive director. Helen's work in recent months, in her interim capacity, has helped shape our future roadmap," Shaw said.

"While Covid-19 continues to throw us challenges, we are progressing our work and we remain committed to delivering on our Terms of Reference. Helen's appointment ensures we remain well-positioned to deliver on the work set out."

Helen Potiki has affiliations to Tapuika, Ngāti Porou and Ngāi Tahu.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs