Helen Potiki has been appointed as Acting Executive Director of the Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry.

Ms Potiki replaces outgoing Executive Director Mervin Singham who was announced yesterday as Chief Executive of the newly formed Ministry for Ethnic Communities.

Ms Potiki joins the Royal Commission from the Office of Ethnic Communities where she was the Applied Policy Manager. She has held the roles of Deputy Chief Executive at the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and Acting Chief Executive of the Ministry for Women.

She has 18 years’ experience in the public service and she has strong experience working in the area of family violence, namely, violence against women and in particular Māori and Pacific women.

Ms Potiki has a strong background in international relations, including leading Government delegations to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York, the APEC Women in the Economy Forum in Vietnam and the East Asia Forum on Family and Gender Policy Development in Thailand.

Abuse in Care Royal Commission Chair, Judge Coral Shaw, has welcomed Helen Potiki to the Inquiry.

“The Commissioners and I warmly welcome Helen to the Inquiry team, and we are excited to work with her in the interim to lead the Inquiry’s ongoing work,” said Judge Shaw.

“Helen joins the team today, and she will be here for the coming months while we go through a formal process of finding an Executive Director to lead the Inquiry through to its conclusion in mid-2023.

“A significant amount of work continues at the Inquiry with a number of investigations underway, and we are well positioned to deliver on the work set out.

“This year we will be delivering a report on redress. It will contain findings about the adequacy of past and present State and faith-based systems to provide redress to survivors for the abuse they suffered in care. It will also include recommendations for the future,” said Judge Shaw.

Helen Potiki has tribal affiliations to Tapuika, Ngāti Porou and Ngāi Tahu.

About the Abuse in Care Inquiry

The Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry is investigating the abuse and neglect that happened to children, young people and vulnerable adults in care from 1950 and 1999. The inquiry is due to deliver its final report in June 2023.