The Department of Internal Affairs

The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction

The Government announced the details of the Inquiry into Mental Health and Addictions on 23 January 2018.

The Inquiry will be chaired by former Health and Disability Commissioner, Professor Ron Paterson. The Chair and members will determine how to conduct the Inquiry within the Terms of Reference set by the Government.

The Inquiry will report back to Government by the end of October 2018.

Further information

Questions and Answers

Contact the Inquiry


Inquiry Members’ biographical information

Chairperson: Professor Ron Paterson

Professor Paterson is a professor of law at the University of Auckland and Chair of the New Zealand Centre for Human Rights Law, Policy & Practice Advisory Board. He was Parliamentary Ombudsman (2013–2016), Health and Disability Commissioner (2000–2010) and Deputy Director-General, Safety and Regulation, Ministry of Health (1999–2000). Professor Paterson is recognised internationally for his expertise in patients’ rights, regulation of health practitioners and healthcare quality improvement. He has chaired several major health system reviews in Australia, including the Review of National Aged Care Quality Regulatory Processes (2017). He chaired the Counties Manukau Maternity Care Review (2012) and is currently reviewing the Veterans’ Support Act for the Chief of the Defence Force. He was Chair of the New Zealand Banking Ombudsman Scheme and a member of the Board of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (2010–2013). Professor Paterson was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to health, in 2011.

Member: Dr Barbara Disley

Dr Disley has filled a number of leadership roles in the mental health sector since the 1990s and has an in-depth understanding of mental health and addiction services. She is a former Director of the Mental Health Foundation (1991-1996), and a former Executive Chair of the Mental Health Commission (1996-2002) and is currently Chief Executive of Emerge Aotearoa, which works in the mental health sector.

Member: Sir Mason Durie

Sir Mason has had a lifelong commitment to public health, including mental health and addiction, with a particular expertise in Māori health and culture. He has served on range of health-related committees, councils and advisory groups, including the Mental Health Foundation (1976-1980), The National Health Committee (1998-2000) and was a Families Commissioner (2003-2007). From 2007-2010 he was the Director of Te Pou, National Centre of Mental Health Research and Workforce Development. He is currently Professor of Māori Studies and Massey University.

Member: Dean Rangihuna

Dean Rangihuna works in the frontline of the mental health sector as a Forensic Māori Consumer Advisor for the Canterbury DHB. He has worked as consumer advisor since 2005. He is also active at a national level and was recently part of an expert advisory group set up by the Ministry of Health to look at the Mental Health Act and Human Rights. In November 2016 Dean was appointed to the National Training Governance Committee for Safe Practice and Effective Communication, which is the national training programme to reduce the use of seclusion and restraint in mental health facilities.

Member: Dr Jemaima Tiatia-Seath

Dr Tiatia-Seath has particular expertise and experience in Pacific mental health, and suicide prevention and postvention. She is a member of the Health Research Council’s Public Health Research Committee, the Mental Health Foundation’s Suicide Bereavement Service Advisory Group and a former member of the Health Quality and Safety Commission’s Suicide Mortality Review Committee (2014-2016). She is currently Co-Head of the School of Māori Studies and Pacific Studies, and Head of Pacific Studies at the University of Auckland.

Member: Josiah Tualamali’i

Josiah Tualamali’i brings a youth perspective to the Inquiry. In 2016, he received the Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Award for Leadership and Inspiration. He is currently the Chair of the Pacific Youth Leadership and Transformation Trust which assists Pacific Young people to participate in all worlds, and a Director on the board of Le Va, the Pacific Mental Health, Suicide Prevention and Addictions lead.