Julia Steenson has been appointed to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State Care and in the Care of Faith-Based Institutions, Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin announced today.
Ms Steenson will be taking over the Commissioner vacancy left by Judge Coral Shaw who took over as Chair of the Royal Commission in November 2019, after Sir Anand Satyanand’s departure.
“The Royal Commission will be resuming its hearings in September 2020 and appointing the new Commissioner before these hearings take place will add immediate capability to the Royal Commission,” Minister Martin said. “Ms Steenson has extensive governance, legal and Te Ao Māori experience which are valuable for this role.”
She was a lawyer at Simpson Grierson and General Counsel for Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, which included internal investigative functions. She is currently a Director on the Board of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Whai Rawa Limited and is an elected representative on the Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust.
“Ms Steenson’s appointment will result in a well-balanced Inquiry in terms of gender, age, ethnicity and geographic representation, and adds to an appropriate mix of skills and experience,” Mrs Martin said.
“Her personal and professional background gives her strengths in considering and reconciling different world views, with her highly developed understanding of New Zealand’s law and institutions and a deep understanding of tikanga and Te Ao Māori.”
Ms Steenson will be starting her new role on 18 June 2020.
Cabinet has also agreed to appoint a sixth Commissioner who will start in their role after the General Election. The process to find that person is now underway.