This Inquiry is led by a Chair, four commissioners, two Senior Counsel Assisting and an Executive Director.
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.
Sandra has practiced as a lawyer in the Auckland region for the last 20 years representing children, young persons and their families. She grew up in Mangere and has strong ties to the local community through her work in the voluntary sector. Sandra was appointed to the Counties Manukau District Health Board in December 2010 following a six year term as a Commissioner with the Families Commission. In 2016 she was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to the Pacific community and to youth. In 1995 she was also bestowed an honorific title by her family in the village of Sa'anapu, Samoa.
Andrew is from Nga Ruahinerangi and Ngati Ruanui (Taranaki) and Ati Hau Nui A Paparangi (Wanganui).
Andrew is Associate Professor at the University of Auckland Faculty of Law. He is a former Fulbright Scholar and has published extensively in New Zealand and overseas on indigenous rights and human rights in international law. Between 2008 and 2012, he was Amnesty International’s lead adviser on Indigenous rights based in London and the UN office in Geneva. Before becoming an academic Andrew practiced at the law firm, Kensington Swan.
Andrew has combined his academic work with advocacy for indigenous rights. He advised on the claims relating to the call for an independent inquiry into the neglect and abuse of Maori children in state care. He has also advised Maori and indigenous peoples on claims to the Waitangi tribunal and human rights treaty bodies, including the UN CERD Committee and UN Human Rights Committee.
Paul was the Disability Rights Commissioner at the Human Rights Commission from 2011 to 2017. The work he has led includes historic state abuse, accessibility, education, New Zealand Sign Language, Down Syndrome and antenatal screening, neuro-disability, and mental distress/ psycho social disability. Paul is a former President of the Disabled People's Assembly. Internationally he led in promoting the voices of under-represented groups within the disability community, and he chaired the Global Network of National Human Rights Institutions disability caucus. He previously worked as an independent disability consultant, in health, tertiary education, a farmer, and as a musician. Paul is blind and uses Braille and speech output technology.
Ms Steenson is of Ngāti Whātua and Waikato/Tainui descent. She is a qualified lawyer who has worked in the finance and education sectors, as well as in legal practice.
Ms Steenson is an Elected Representative on the Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust (NWO) Board and sits on the commercial board of NWO Whai Rawa Limited. She is also a member of the Risk Assurance and Audit committee for the NWO group and is Chair for Kia Puawai Limited; a health and wellbeing charity.
Simon Mount QC is a barrister specialising in civil and criminal litigation, regulatory law, health and media law, and public inquiries.
He began his career as a Judges Clerk in 1995, received a Fulbright Scholarship in 1997, and an LLM degree from Columbia Law School in New York in 1999. He was a litigator and Crown Prosecutor in Auckland from 2000-2010, and has appeared at all levels in the New Zealand court system, including the Privy Council.
Simon was Counsel assisting at the Pike River Royal Commission in 2011-2012 and Counsel for New Zealand Police, for the Inquest into the death of the Kahui twins in 2010-2012. Simon has been Attorney- General for the Pitcairn Islands since 2015. Most recently Simon led an Inquiry into the use of external security consultants by government agencies.
Mervin came to the role from the Department of Internal Affairs in which he was Deputy Chief Executive, Strategy and Governance and then Deputy Chief Executive for Stewardship and Organisational Sustainability for nearly six years. Prior to this role in 2013 he was the Director of the office of Ethnic Affairs for nine years.
Mervin has a particular interest in conflict resolution, public policy and inter-cultural issues. He has extensive experience in the field of human rights and was Chief Mediator at the Human Rights Commission. His achievements include several United Nations consultancy projects in the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific.
Mervin has an Honours Degree in Law from the University of Canterbury in Christchurch and a Masters Degree in Law with First Class Honours from the University of Auckland. He has also attended executive management programmes at the London Business School and Harvard Business School in Boston.