The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Executive Director appointed for Abuse in Care Royal Commission

21 September 2021

The Department of Internal Affairs has appointed Helen Potiki to the role of Executive Director at the Abuse in Care Royal Commission for the remaining duration of the Inquiry.

Ms Potiki has been acting in the role since July this year. She replaces Mervin Singham who was appointed Chief Executive of the Ministry for Ethnic Communities.

Ms Potiki has 18 years’ experience in the public service, including working with families dealing with violence, in particular violence against Māori and Pacific women.

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 led Government delegations to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women and the East Asia Forum on Family and Gender Policy Development. Ms Potiki was also involved in establishing the new Ministry for Ethnic Communities.

Abuse in Care Royal Commission Chair, Coral Shaw, said “The Commissioners and I welcome Helen to the Inquiry as the new Executive Director. Helen’s work in recent months, in her interim capacity, has helped shape our future roadmap.

“In the past few months while Helen has been interim Executive Director, she has been committed to ensuring our work continues to be survivor-focused, implements the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and seeks to reveal the extent and nature of historical abuse in state and faith-based care. Helen is delivery-focused, and her leadership has been strong in these past few months,” said Judge Shaw.

“While COVID-19 continues to throw us challenges, we are progressing our work and we remain committed to delivering on our Terms of Reference. Helen’s appointment ensures we remain well-positioned to deliver on the work set out.”

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