Mō mātou

About us

Mana Mokopuna - Children and Young People's Commission is an independent advocate for all 1.2 million mokopuna aged under 18 in Aotearoa and care-experienced mokopuna aged up to 25.

Mana Mokopuna - Children and Young People’s Commission was established in July 2023, but we have a rich whakapapa built on the commitment of former Children’s Commissioners since 1989.

The Commission is an Independent Crown Entity governed by a board of five Commissioners led by Chief Children’s Commissioner Dr Claire Achmad.

It advocates for children's rights to be recognised and upheld, provides advice and guidance to government and other agencies, advocates for system-level changes, ensures children's voices are heard in decisions that affect them and monitors places where young people are detained.

Our name, Mana Mokopuna, describes who we are and what we stand for.

At its heart, Mana Mokopuna recognises the many elements that support mokopuna to thrive. It focuses on young people in the context of their family, whānau, hapū, iwi and wider community. It also recognises that their participation in decisions that affect them is vitally important.

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Dr Claire Achmad

Te Kaikōmihana Matua | Chief Children’s Commissioner

Dr Claire Achmad is a recognised advocate for children in Aotearoa New Zealand and internationally, having worked in a wide range of areas relating to children's rights, including from legal, policy and practice perspectives. Claire took up the role of Chief Children's Commissioner on November 1, 2023.

About Dr Claire Achmad
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Donna Matahaere-Atariki

Deputy Chief Children's Commissioner

Donna Matahaere-Atariki (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Ruanui, Te Atiawa, Ngā Rauru, Ngā Ruahine and Tuwharetoa) has a background in education, health and social services, and governance experience with the Gambling Commission and the University of Otago. She was previously Chair of Te Kāhui, the Māori Advisory Group to Aroturuki Tamariki, the Independent Children’s Monitor. Donna took on the role of Deputy Chief Children's Commissioner on November 1, 2023.

About Donna Matahaere-Atariki
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Dr Julie Wharewera-Mika

Children's Commissioner

Dr Julie Wharewera-Mika (Ngāti Awa, Ngāi Tūhoe and Te Whānau ā Apanui) is a māmā to four sons, a registered senior clinical psychologist and Kaupapa Māori researcher who completed a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at Auckland University.

About Dr Julie Wharewera-Mika
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Ronelle Baker

Children's Commissioner

Ronelle (Ngāti Porou, Te Aitanga a Hauiti, Ngāi Tāmanuhiri, Ngāti Apakura and Ngāpuhi) has extensive experience across the health, disability, NGO and government sectors, and is currently Principal Advisor Accessibility at Stats NZ and Chair of Spectrum Care Ltd.

About Ronelle Baker
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Josiah Tualamali’i

Children's Commissioner

Josiah Tualamali’i is a wellbeing governance professional, history postgraduate student, and brings frontline youth advocacy experience through a range of health, leadership and young people’s networks.

About Josiah Tualamali’i
what do rights mean

Our role in the oversight system

We promote the rights, interests, participation and wellbeing of mokopuna, including those in the oranga tamariki system. This includes helping mokopuna and their whānau to resolve issues, which might involve connecting them with appropriate agencies and organisations.

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Our tohu

Our tohu is an expression of what we stand for and the work we do. It references the whakapapa of the Mana Mokopuna framework while reflecting our aspirations for all mokopuna in Aotearoa.

Placing the pītau (unfurling fronds of the fern) within the hue (gourd), this tohu represents a safe and protected community that exists within an abundant and flourishing environment. Hue have a special connection to whakapapa and childbirth, music and peace. The use of mangōpare (hammerhead shark pattern) speaks of courage, strength and resilience.

Our blue and green tohu references Ranginui and Papatūānuku – sky father and earth mother - with a slice of light in between representing the space for mokopuna to thrive and grow.

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Te moemoeā

Our vision, values and priorities

Kia kuru pounamu te rongo | All mokopuna live their best lives

Our vision is for every child in Aotearoa, regardless of their background, to grow up knowing they belong with their whānau and have what they need to live their best life. It also means mokopuna have a say about what really matters for them, and that their rights are honoured by those in power.

We have a tikanga framework with four principles: Aroha, Pono, Tika, and Mātauranga.

We have set four priorities for the office: Education, Mental Wellbeing, Ending Family Violence and Monitoring Places of Detention.

Te tiriti

Te Tiriti o Waitangi

Commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi

We are committed to recognising and implementing the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. We are working towards reflecting the true intention of te Tiriti o Waitangi in everything that we do.

Our History

Ngā kōrero

Our history

Mana Mokopuna - Children and Young People's Commission was established on July 1, 2023, replacing the sole-Commissioner model with a governing board of six Commissioners.

The role of Children’s Commissioner was established in 1989 to be an independent advocate for children. Since 1989, there have been eight Commissioners, all unified with an unwavering commitment to confront the systemic issues children are affected by but do not have a voice in changing.

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Our commitment to Kia Toipoto

Our Commission is committed to meeting the milestones of Kia Toipoto - the Public Service Gender, Māori, Pacific, and Ethnic Pay Gaps Action Plan 2021-24.

Under Kia Toipoto, agencies and entities need at least 20 employees in each comparative group to publish statistically robust pay gaps, while also protecting the privacy of employees. We are a small organisation, meaning publishing pay gap data risks breaching the privacy of our kaimahi. We are, instead, using the data we have and employee engagement to develop our first Kia Toipoto Action Plan, which you can find here.