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Royal Commission welcomes new Chairperson

Abuse in Care Inquiry media release
Royal Commission welcomes new Chairperson
14 November

The Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry welcomes Judge Coral Shaw as its new Chairperson to lead it through the delivery phase of the Inquiry.

Inquiry Executive Director Mervin Singham said Judge Shaw brings significant experience to her new leadership role.

“Coral has a long history of fighting for human rights as a lawyer, and as a Judge she presided over many cases both in New Zealand and overseas,” he said.

“As a Commissioner, she has personally met with over 50 individual survivors in private sessions and will hear the experiences of hundreds more.

“Continuity of progress is important, and the Abuse in Care Inquiry Secretariat welcomes Coral as the new Chair. We also look forward to the appointment of a new Commissioner in due course,” said Mr Singham.

Judge Shaw said that it is an honour to be appointed Chairperson of New Zealand’s biggest Inquiry.

“Hundreds of thousands of children, young people and vulnerable adults potentially experienced abuse in the care of the State or faith-based institutions between 1950-1999,” she said.

“It is critical the voices of these survivors are heard and acknowledged by government and that future cases of abuse in care can be prevented.

“As Chairperson of the Royal Commission, I will ensure we continue to engage with survivors through our Advisory Group, existing survivor networks, iwi, National Māori Organisations, NGOs
and through specialist Community Engagement.

Judge Shaw said that New Zealand has irrefutable legal obligations to protect the fundamental rights of its people.

“Through this Inquiry, we are identifying and naming violations of human rights. Our recommendations will be aimed towards ensuring the rights of our children, young people and vulnerable adults are respected and upheld for future generations.

“Working closely with fellow Commissioners, we will make principled and practical recommendations to change the way New Zealand cares for children, young people and vulnerable adults. They will be hard to ignore.

“On behalf of the Commissioners and the Secretariat, I would like to thank the outgoing Chair, Sir Anand Satyanand, for his commitment, diligence and efforts in the establishment phase of the Inquiry. He has bought great mana to the Inquiry,” said Judge Shaw.

A new Commissioner to replace Judge Shaw is due to be announced in due course.


About Judge Coral Shaw

Coral was first a teacher and then a lawyer in Auckland. As a District Court judge in West Auckland she introduced a first fast track system for family violence cases which included advocates for family abuse victims. She established WAVES, a trust to coordinate West Auckland services for victims and perpetrators of family violence. She also incorporated a marae-based programme of Restorative Justice into the Waitakere Court sentencing processes.

Coral later served as a Judge of the New Zealand Employment Court and then a Judge of the United Nations Dispute Tribunal. She is a mediator and has served as a trustee on a number of charitable trusts including Hoani Waititi Marae and Mahi Tahi Akoranga Trust (prisoner rehabilitation). She has been a volunteer worker for the Citizens Advice Bureau. Coral has recently carried out reviews into conduct at Fire and Emergency New Zealand and the Human Rights Commission.

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