Public hearings will be held throughout the Inquiry.  Through public hearings Commissioners will hear evidence and information about abuse in State care and faith-based institutions.

Each public hearing is part of a wider investigation examining a theme or particular institution.

The evidence heard at public hearings will help the Inquiry make independent, unbiased findings to inform our recommendations to the Government.

COVID-19 Alert levels for Hearings – What you need to know

The Royal Commission will abide by government mandated COVID-19 requirements and ensure the safety of staff and attendees through specific protocols.

This will have an impact on how the hearing is conducted at any COVID level, including the management of people attending, and social distancing provisions inside the hearing space.

COVID-19 ALERT LEVEL 3       No hearing

COVID-19 ALERT LEVEL 2       Hearing can go ahead with the following restrictions:

  • No public attendance
  • Limited number of invitees/core participants/stakeholders can attend
  • Limited attendance by media
  • All attendees need to sign in by COVID-19 Tracer QR Code or register and complete a temperature check
  • Hygiene and social distancing protocols apply. Masks and gloves will be available.
  • Health & Safety Officer will clean in the breaks and at lunch time and assist with physical distancing protocols.


  • No limitations on attendees
  • All attendees need to sign in by COVID-19 Tracer QR Code
  • Health & Safety Officer will clean in the breaks and at lunch time and assist with physical distancing protocols.
  • Hygiene protocols in place, e.g. hand sanitiser. Masks and gloves will be available.


What to expect

Viewing the evidence

Witness statements will be published after each witness has finished appearing.

Individual witness videos will edited to remove breaks and intervals. These will be published by the following business day after the witness has finished giving their evidence. There may be further delays if witness evidence runs over more than one day or if the footage is delayed due to legal reasons and we will let you know if this is the case.

Transcripts (written) are published and available usually within one week of each witness appearing once it has been fully reviewed by Royal Commission staff.

Unedited Live stream copies of the hearings are available by clicking on the arrow in the top right hand corner of the live stream window that appears during the period of the hearing on the hearings page. Please note these include breaks and intervals.

Attending a hearing

There will be many public hearings during the Inquiry, each running for between one to three weeks.

All public hearings will be held in venues open and accessible to the public.

Our public hearings take place at our Auckland Office 414 Khyber Pass (entrance from Kingdon Street) unless otherwise stated.

You can attend as a member of the public or watch a live stream on our website.

At a hearing

Commissioners will be looking at:

  • Why people were taken into care
  • What abuse and neglect occurred
  • Why it happened and the effect it had
  • What was learned and what changes were made
  • How the systems are working now
  • How things can be done better

For witnesses

Detail about the hearing process will be provided by a member of our legal counsel.

For details about expenses for witnesses at public hearings, see our Witness Expenses Policy.

For media

If you are a journalist and would like to attend and/or report on a Royal Commission public hearing, you must adhere to the Media Guidelines which include applying to attend/report within five business days. 

Media enquiries: 027 298 2094,

Current and upcoming hearings

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Public hearings provide an opportunity to publicly examine how and why abuse occurred in State and faith-based care. 

View upcoming hearings

Recent hearings

 Tulou - Our Pacific Voices: Tatala e Pulonga

The Inquiry’s Pacific hearing was held at the Fale o Samoa in Māngere and examined issues that are particularly relevant to the experiences of abuse of Pacific people across all State and faith-based care settings included in the Terms of Reference.

  Lake Alice Child and Adolescent Unit hearing

This hearing focused on evidence about abuse of children and young people in the care of the Child and Adolescent Unit at Lake Alice psychiatric hospital in the 1970s

 Abuse in State children’s residential care

This investigation will examine and report on abuse and neglect of children and young people in State residential care.

Faith-based Redress: Phase Two

This hearing will focus on evidence on redress processes from witnesses called on behalf of the Catholic Church in Aotearoa New Zealand, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia and the Salvation Army New Zealand.

 Faith-based Redress - Phase One

This hearing focused on the redress processes of the Catholic Church, Anglican Church and the Salvation Army. The Royal Commission will investigate the adequacy of redress and what needs to be done to support people who have been abused or neglected in Faith-based institutions.


 State Redress - Evidence from survivors

In the first phase the Inquiry will hear evidence from survivors of abuse in care about civil claims made against the State. It will also hear from survivors about civil litigation in the courts and before the Human Rights Tribunal. Read more

 State Redress - Witnesses for the Crown

The hearing has been split into two phases. Witnesses for the Crown will give evidence during this phase.

 Contextual hearing

At the Contextual hearing the Inquiry heard from 29 witnesses on topics that provide context to the wide ranging scope of the Inquiry and that the Inquiry will explore in more detail over the next few years.

 Preliminary hearing

Our first hearing where Commissioners and Consel talked about why the Royal Commission was established, how we will do our work, private sessions, future public hearings and research.

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