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About us

The Crown Response Unit was established in 2019 to coordinate the Government’s response to the Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry(external link).

The Royal Commission was set up by the Government in 2018 to investigate what happened to children, young people and vulnerable adults in State and faith-based care in Aotearoa New Zealand between the years 1950-99. Its final report is due in 2024.

Find out more about our work.(external link)

Our approach

The Crown Response Unit is solely focused on survivors. This means all of our work is survivor-led and trauma-informed. We are committed to listening, learning and changing. Mā Whakarongo me Ako ka huri te tai.

The Crown Response Unit is guided by six principles:

  1. manaakitanga – treating people with the compassion, fairness, and respect that upholds the mana of all those involved
  2. openness – being receptive to new ideas, and to reconsidering how things have been done in the past and the way agencies operate now
  3. transparency – sharing knowledge and information held by the Crown, including the reasons behind key actions
  4. learning – listening attentively to survivors, learning from the Royal Commission, and using that information to improve systems
  5. being joined up – agencies working together closely, helped by the Crown Response Unit and a chief executive sponsoring group, to make sure government engagement with the Royal Commission is coordinated and resulting actions on recommendations are collectively owned
  6. meeting obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi – honouring the Treaty principles, meeting Crown obligations and building a stronger Māori-Crown relationship through the way the Crown operates and behaves during this process and after it, when implementing its lessons.

We have produced a document that describes how the Crown Response Unit treats information shared by participants before, during and after our engagement activities.

Alternate formats of this document can be found here.


The Crown would like to see the following outcomes from the Royal Commission process:

  • survivors are heard, and feel heard
  • harm is acknowledged
  • the government care system is improved
  • this type of harm never happens again
  • Māori experiences and their impacts are recognised and respected
  • disabled peoples’ experiences and their impacts are recognised and respected.


Strategic governance of the Crown response is provided by a Sponsoring Group made up of the Chief Executives from:

  • Ministry of Education
  • Manatū Hauora - Ministry of Health
  • Ministry of Social Development
  • Oranga Tamariki
  • Whaikaha-Ministry of Disabled People
  • the Crown Law Office.

The Chair of the Sponsoring Group is the Secretary of Education, Iona Holsted.

The Minister for the Public Service, Hon Nicola Willis is the Minister responsible for the Crown response to the Abuse in Care Inquiry.

A crown-agency working group oversees and helps coordinate agencies' contributions to the Crown response. The group includes representatives of the following agencies most directly involved in State care, or holding key records about care history:

  • Ministry of Social Development
  • Oranga Tamariki
  • Manatū Hauora - Ministry of Health
  • Ministry of Education
  • Department of Corrections
  • Ministry of Justice
  • Archives New Zealand
  • New Zealand Police
  • Te Puni Kōkiri
  • Te Kawa Mataaho - Public Service Commission,
  • Whaikaha-Ministry of Disabled People
  • Crown Law Office
  • ACC.

Our Director

Isaac Carlson, Crown Response Unit DirectorIsaac Carlson is the Director of the Crown Response Unit.

Isaac (Ngāti Kahungunu, Rangitāne) was previously Head of Injury Prevention at ACC, where he worked since 2007 across all aspects of prevention, care and recovery. He has worked collaboratively across the public sector in strengthening partnerships, supporting the delivery of public sector strategies, and supporting the development of whānau-centred well-being models.

Isaac started on 1 February 2023. He replaced Alana Ruakere.

Our news

For news about our work go to Karere - Our news section.

Alternate formats

You can find alternate formats about our work programme in Easy Read, large print, audio, NZSL and braille formats: Alternate formats.

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