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Commissioners leave a legacy for families and whānau

Media release

15 August 2011

Commissioners leave a legacy for families and whānau

The Families Commission farewells two of its Commissioners this week, as Gregory Fortuin and Kim Workman each complete their appointed three-year terms.

Chief Commissioner Carl Davidson says the Commission has established itself as a centre of excellence for knowledge about families and whānau and owes much of its current strong performance to the contributions of both men.

Former Race Relations Conciliator Gregory Fortuin, has recognised the important role of the Commission in connecting communities and stakeholders across a number of sectors.

Mr Davidson says, “It is testament to Gregory’s character and the enormous respect with which he is held, that he has developed strong and enduring relationships on behalf of the Commission. This has allowed us to ensure that the needs and priorities of families are heard and that our research and evidence base can be used to make a real difference.”

Gregory’s work in facilitation and advocacy on family debt has seen the Families Commission play a key role as a provider of knowledge in discussion and policy development that continues today.

He has been strongly involved with the Commission’s Whānau Reference Group and in the formation of an Ethnic Reference Group, which is currently looking at the role of reunification in strengthening refugee families.

Mr Davidson says, “Gregory has always operated from a principled position which has allowed him to transcend politics and focus on families. His warmth, dignity and approachability will be greatly missed.”

Kim Workman, Ngati Kahungunu and Rangitaane, is a former senior public servant and is currently Director of Rethinking Crime and Punishment.

Mr Davidson says, “The Families Commission owes Kim a debt of gratitude for his work in the development of the Commission’s Whānau Strategic Framework, which was launched last year.”

He says, “We are very proud of the important research coming out of that strategy, which is helping both Māori and non-Māori to understand some of the more complex dimensions of whānau.”

“Kim certainly leaves at a high point, with the recent release of the report, Whānau, Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow. This research on whānau success is a terrific example of the strength-based, kaupapa Māori approach of the Commission, which Kim has supported with tenacity and conviction. Although we will miss Kim, the Commission is confident that he leaves an organisation strongly committed to partnership with whānau and in an excellent position to be able to progress this work effectively.”

Mr Davidson says, “Kim and Gregory have served the Families Commission, and New Zealand families and whānau, with much commitment and integrity and both will be greatly missed.”


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