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Dr Cindy Kiro appointed Commissioner for Children

Dr Cindy Kiro appointed Commissioner for Children

Dr Cynthia (Cindy) Kiro has been appointed New Zealand’s fourth Commissioner for Children, Social Development and Employment Minister Steve Maharey announced today.

Alongside their families, the Commissioner for Children is New Zealand’s main guardian of children and young people’s interests and rights. The Office was established under the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1989 and empowers the Commissioner to monitor and review policy and practices of Child, Youth and Family and any matter affecting children and young people in any service or organisation. Parliament is currently considering changes to the Commissioner’s empowering legislation that will improve the definition of her functions and strengthen her ability to advocate on behalf of children.

Dr Kiro is currently Associate Professor and Director of the Waiora Centre for Public Health Research with Massey University in Auckland. She has previously held senior management positions mainly in the health field and has extensive experience in child advocacy and Mäori development. She holds a PhD in Social Policy and an MBA in Business Administration.

Steve Maharey said Cindy Kiro is widely respected by children and young people’s advocacy groups, iwi and Mäori communities, and professional social work communities.

“The Commissioner for Children is a crucially important role which Cindy Kiro is well qualified for in terms of her work experience, academic qualifications and fundamental interest in children and young people.

“She is herself a mother. She has an extensive working knowledge of the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act. She is knowledgeable about children’s rights and New Zealand’s obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

“I’m confident that her proven governance and management expertise will stand her in good stead as she leads the Office of the Commissioner for Children through the implementation of the Commissioner for Children Bill.

“Cindy Kiro’s breadth of experience and ability to work with people from all backgrounds – from children living in many different settings to international academics – make her well suited to manage the complex and sensitive issues that come before the Commissioner for investigation and resolution,” Steve Maharey said.

Dr Kiro is Ngapuhi, Ngati Kahu, Ngati Hine. Her appointment is for five years and she takes up the position on 1 September 2003.

Steve Maharey also paid tribute to retiring Commissioner for Children Roger McClay who has served in the role since 1998.

“Roger’s passion, commitment and advocacy for children have been a hallmark of his term.

“I want to thank him for the major contribution that he has made to enhancing the lives of New Zealand’s children and young people,” Steve Maharey said.


Dr Cynthia (Cindy) Kiro (Ngapuhi, Ngati Kahu, Ngati Hine) is currently an Associate Professor and Director of the Waiora Centre for Public Health Research at Massey University (Albany). The Centre is a research unit focussed around children and young people, public policy and public health, and Maori development.

Dr Kiro is well qualified for the role of Commissioner in terms of work experience and academic qualifications.

Before taking up her role at Massey University (Auckland) in 2002, Dr Kiro held senior management positions with the Auckland District Health Board (2000-2002) and was a senior lecturer in Social Policy at Massey University Albany (1995-2000) where she specialised in health policy, child advocacy and Maori development.

Through her senior management positions, and other roles, Dr Kiro brings to the Commissioner’s role: extensive working knowledge of United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC) and the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act from both a government and non-government perspective research, policy and practice expertise in relation to child advocacy the ability to undertake objective investigations of complex issues with sensitivity proven governance and management expertise in respect of both people and finance machinery of government experience.

Cindy Kiro holds a PhD in Social Policy and an MBA (Exec) in Business Administration. She also holds a current Certificate of Competency in Social Work Practice.

Dr Kiro has gained considerable governance experience through membership of government boards including: Acting Chair, Public Health Advisory Committee (2001-2003) Member, National Health Committee (2001-2003) Member, Casino Control Authority (2001-2003) Member, Maori Health Research Committee (2001-2003) Member, Child Policy Reference Group (Agenda for Children) (2000-2002).

Dr Kiro is married with children. She is active in her community, having been involved with the development of Waitakere City Council’s Strategic Plan, been a primary school trustee, a counsellor and regional planner for a network of Maori women’s refuges, and has contributed to the development of Kura Kaupapa Maori with Hoani Waititi Marae.

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