Commissioners say they have learned a lot from discussions in recent weeks with survivors, their advocates and other individuals to assist them in the next phases of the inquiry.
Over the past six weeks, Commissioners have held 32 separate meetings in both Auckland and Wellington involving more than 50 individuals and organisations with a strong interest in the work of the Royal Commission of Inquiry.
Included in the discussions have been:
- Survivors and survivor networks
- Māori and Pasifika advocates
- Disability groups
- Faith-based survivors and advocates
- Social sector agencies
- Government agencies and Crown entities
- Researchers and academics
- Legal providers.
Commissioner Judge Coral Shaw is particularly grateful survivors were willing to come to meet the Commissioners in person. She valued the chance to listen and hear their high expectations Commissioners and the Inquiry itself.
“I have learned the perspective of each individual survivor is critical; we can’t and won’t make any assumptions about their experiences or their views as we move forward.
“Some of the questions survivors wanted answered were: ‘Why was I abused?’ and ‘What changes will this Royal Commission make?
“We know we have to gain the trust of survivors so this Commission can give effective answers to these and all other questions,” she says
Commissioner Paul Gibson feels better informed following the discussions.
“Many survivors carry a hard-earned wisdom from their unique and traumatic journeys at the hands of often untrustworthy state and faith-based institutions.
“I have learnt to respect survivors’ courage, and for us here at the Inquiry to be authentic and listening, especially to the hard to reach and most forgotten groups.
“As the Inquiry goes on, I hope all New Zealand may learn the same lessons,” he says.