The Department of Internal Affairs

The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Royal Commission into Historical Abuse in State Care

The Government announced the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State Care on 1 February 2018.

The Royal Commission will be chaired by Sir Anand Satyanand. His first task is to lead public consultation on the draft Terms of Reference, which were set by Cabinet.

The  draft Terms of Reference are available here:

Sir Anand Satyanand will report to the Minister of Internal Affairs on the outcome of the public consultation. Cabinet will consider the consultation feedback and take a decision on the final Terms of Reference. 

The Royal Commission will begin considering evidence once the final Terms of Reference have been approved by Cabinet and published.

Further information

These documents should provide useful context on the matters Cabinet considered when drafting the Terms of Reference. The release of these documents may help provide background information for the public consultation on the draft Terms of Reference, led by the Inquiry Chair in the months ahead. Some redactions have been made that relate to legal professional privilege, free and frank expressions of opinions, information subject to an obligation of confidence, and private information of individuals.

Questions and Answers

(Updated 22 February 2018)

Chair’s biographical information

Sir Anand Satyanand will chair New Zealand’s Royal Commission into Abuse in State Care. Before his role as Governor-General, Sir Anand was a lawyer, a judge, and a parliamentary ombudsman. He also has experience in a wide range of government appointments, such as leading the Confidential Forum for Former In-Patients of Psychiatric Hospitals. He has maintained many community connections in sporting and cultural fields.

Most recently, Sir Anand led the Commonwealth Group, which observed the 2017 national elections in Papua New Guinea. Before that, he completed two terms as Chair of the Commonwealth Foundation, the counterpart of the Commonwealth Secretariat. Alongside his formal roles, Sir Anand has taken on additional challenges. For example as a judge and later as an ombudsman, he was involved in developing education programmes for people new in those roles. He also worked as a Prison Board Chairman and as a member of the National Parole Board.

Sir Anand’s ability to impartially assess evidence, weigh arguments and articulate issues have been recognised throughout this varied career. He has a thorough knowledge of the machinery of government and is known for being both independent and determined.