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Trauma-Responsive New Zealand

NZ Education system ~ We have no systemic racism


Iona Holsted, Chief Executive and Secretary for Education said in her response on behalf of the Ministry of Education that she does not acknowledge that our NZ education system has systemic racism.

This was later endorsed by Nicholas Pole, Chief Executive and Chief Reviewer of the Education Review Office, in his response on behalf of the Education Review Office.

I may have gotten it wrong. I don't think so, as I was there at the hearing.

Sadly, our media did not pick up on this, and it was not widely shared with us all here in New Zealand.

This is WHY the statement by Iona Holsted that she does not accept we have systemic racism in our education system is significant and damaging

If we do not accept or acknowledge that our education system has systemic racism

Then it will NEVER be addressed

Awareness is the first step to transformational change.

When two of the leaders of our education system fail to acknowledge that we have systemic racism, it helps us to understand WHY systemic racism has been allowed to flourish in our schools.

We do have systemic racism deeply embedded in our NZ education system.

I know as I am Maori.

I faced systemic racism as a child in schools.

I faced systemic racism as a teacher in schools.

Now I know WHY

Now we ALL know WHY

The question I have is:

Now we know

What are we going to do about it?

What are our people going to do about it?

More importantly,

What are our Minister of Education, Chris Hipkins, and Prime Minister, Jacinda Adern, going to do about it?

About the Hearings

The responses of State agencies to the abuse and neglect of children, young people and vulnerable adults will be examined by the Royal Commission of Inquiry in an upcoming public hearing that will run from 15 to 26 August.

During the 10-day State Institutional Response hearing, witnesses from Crown agencies will be questioned on failures by the State to prevent and respond to abuse in State and faith-based care.

Witnesses will include chief executives and other senior people across the following agencies:

  • Oranga Tamariki
  • Ministry of Social Development
  • Ministry of Health
  • Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People.
  • Ministry of Education
  • Education Review Office
  • Teaching Council
  • Police
  • Corrections
  • Te Puni Kōkiri
  • Ministry for Pacific Peoples
  • Children’s Commissioner
  • Ombudsman
  • Tekawa Mataaho – Public Service Commission

Agencies will be responding to questions around how care systems were monitored; the handling of complaints; the nature and extent of physical, psychological, sexual abuse and neglect; and to what extent their care systems had met the needs of Māori, Pacific and Disabled people and people with mental health conditions.

They will also respond to questions around the implementation of recommendations from previous inquiries and reports, and whether they had met their obligations under te Tiriti o Waitangi.

The Royal Commission will hold a separate Institutional Response hearing for faith-based institutions later this year, with further details to come.

The State Institutional Response public hearing will take place from 15-26 August 2022 at Level 2, 414 Khyber Pass Road, Newmarket, Tāmaki Makaurau. It will be open to the public and live streamed on the Royal Commission’s website.

We continue to encourage all survivors of abuse in care to come forward to the Royal Commission of Inquiry. Our contact centre can be reached on 0800 222 727 during weekday working hours or More information can be found at

Schedule for hearings at

Day 1

Monday 15 August 2022


Opening Statements


Ministry of Social Development – Te Manatū Whakahiato Ora

  • Debbie Power
  • Barry Fisk
  • Arran Jones

Day 2

Tuesday 16 August

New Zealand Police – Ngā Pirihimana o Aotearoa

  • Andrew Coster
  • Tania Kura

Day 3

Wednesday 17 August

Ministry of Health – Manatū Hauora

  • Dr Diana Sarfati
  • Dr John Crawshaw
  • Dr Arran Culver
  • John Whaanga

Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People

  • Geraldine Woods
  • Amanda Bleckmann
  • Hannah Kerr

Day 4

Thursday 18 August

9am start


Ministry of Education – Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga

  • Iona Holsted
  • David Wales
  • Rachel Vink
  • Yvette Guttenbeil Po’uhila

Day 5

Friday 19 August

9am start


Education Review Office – Te Tari Arotake Mātauranga

  • Nicholas Pole
  • Lynda Pura-Watson
  • Jane Lee


Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand

  • Robyn Baker
  • Lesley Hoskin

Days 6, 7, 8

Monday 22 August - Wednesday 24 August

9am start

Oranga Tamariki – Ministry for Children

  • Chappie Te Kani
  • Peter Whitcombe
  • Nicolette Dickson
  • Frana Chase
  • Aiolupotea Sina Aiolupotea-Aiono
  • Claudia Boyles
  • Paula Attrill

Day 9

Thursday 25 August

9am start


Department of Corrections – Ara Poutama Aotearoa

  • Jeremy Lightfoot
  • Juanita Ryan
  • Neil Beales
  • Jessica Borg
  • Rebecca Barson


Office of the Children’s Commissioner – Manaakatia a Tātou Tamariki

  • Judge Eivers
  • Glenis Phillip-Barbara
  • Fiona Cassidy

Day 10

Friday 26 August

9am start


Ombudsman New Zealand – Te Tari o te Kaitiaki Mana Tangata

  • Peter Boshier

Ministry for Pacific Peoples

  • Laulu Mac Leauanae

  • Aiono Matthew Aileone

Te Puni Kokiri – Ministry of Māori Development

  • Dave Samuels

  • Grace Smith


Tekawa Mataaho – Public Service Commission

  • Peter Hughes

Closing statements

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