Judge Coral Shaw, Chair of the Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry, today congratulated and farewelled outgoing Executive Director Mervin Singham, as he moves to a role as Chief Executive at the newly formed Ministry for Ethnic Communities.

Mr Singham has been the Executive Director of the Abuse in Care Royal Commission since the Terms of Reference were drafted in 2018. The Royal Commission is the largest, most complex Inquiry in the history of New Zealand.

“On behalf of Commissioners and the Inquiry team, I congratulate Mervin on his appointment and on the new opportunity he has to lead an important new Ministry for Aotearoa New Zealand,” said Judge Shaw.

“One of Mervin’s great skills is to recognise the importance of serving the communities who are affected by his work. He has done that at this Inquiry, and I know he will do that in his new role.”

The establishment of a new Ministry for Ethnic Affairs was a recommendation made by the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Terrorist Attack on Christchurch Mosques.

Mr Singham said, “The terrorist attack on Christchurch mosques and COVID-19 have highlighted many issues that ethnic communities are now facing. I am honoured to have been appointed to the role of Chief Executive of a new Ministry, with a formidable task of bringing diverse people together to build a better society in New Zealand.”

Judge Shaw said, “I thank him sincerely for his tireless work to support and enable the Inquiry team, survivors and stakeholders to reveal the extent and depth of the abuse suffered by children, young people and vulnerable adults while in State and faith-based care.

“The work we have done under Mervin’s leadership has changed the national conversation on institutional abuse. The Commission remains committed to telling the stories of survivors,  revealing the extent of the abuse they suffered and the reasons why. These will inform the recommendations that the Inquiry will make to the Government in its reports,” said Judge Shaw.

“Mervin has helped build a solid foundation at the Commission, and he has been an advocate for some of our country’s most vulnerable people. This important work will continue to be led by Commissioners and a new soon-to-be-announced interim Executive Director,” she said.

“The Abuse in Care Royal Commission is well positioned to deliver the rest of the Inquiry and I am very confident that Commissioners and Inquiry staff will be able to lead our work to a successful conclusion in 2023,” [Updated - the final report is now due 28 March 2024] said Mr Singham.

An interim Executive Director at the Commission will be announced in the coming days.

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 March of 2024.