The below timeline shows some of the major events of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care, with a particular focus on events or milestones that involve the Catholic Church. You can quickly navigate through the timeline by clicking on the small year headers (eg ‘2019’).
This timeline is not endorsed or managed by the Royal Commission in any way, though some information is drawn from their website. If you see any errors or have questions or suggestions, please contact Te Rōpū Tautoko directly.
Royal Commission of Inquiry established.
Sir Anand Satyanand appointed as Chair of the Royal Commission and asked to receive public feedback on the draft Terms of Reference.
Catholic bishops and congregations request inclusion.
The New Zealand Catholic Bishops and representation from Catholic religious orders write a letter supporting the Royal Commission and seeking inclusion of religious institutions. Read the full letter here.
Report on draft Terms of Reference submitted to government.
After hearing feedback from over 400 groups and individuals, Sir Anand Satyanand presented a report on the draft Terms of Reference to the government.
Final Terms of Reference announced, and Te Rōpū Tautoko established.
The final Terms of Reference are published and include faith-based institutions. The government also confirms the four other Commissioners: Judge Coral Shaw, Andrew Erueti, Ali’imuamua Sandra Alofivae and Paul Gibson.
In response, Te Rōpū Tautoko (“Tautoko”) is formed by the bishops and congregational leaders of Aotearoa. This is a group to ensure that the Catholic Church provides a co-ordinated and co-operative response to the Commission from all the many dioceses, congregations, and institutions of the Church in this country.
Commission investigation begins.
The Commissioners received their warrants on 3 January 2019, their first formal working day for the Commission.
Preliminary Hearing in Auckland.
At the Preliminary hearing the Commission shared information about why the commission was established, what a Royal Commission is, how they will do their work, detail about private sessions, public hearings and research, and how the public hearings will work.
View recordings and read speeches made on the Commission’s website.
Tautoko applies to be at Procedural Hearing.
Te Rōpū Tautoko applies to attend the Procedural Hearing. This Hearing allowed “individuals, groups or organisations the opportunity to let us know that they want to be formally involved in the Inquiry, and are seeking to become a core participant and if so, how to go about that.”
Tautoko’s Regional Seminars begin.
Te Rōpū Tautoko begins visiting each diocese to meet with the local church leaders and give them an overview of the work Tautoko will be doing. View the presentation given here.
Procedural Hearing in Auckland.
In preparation for the Contextual Hearing in October, the Royal Commission ran this Procedural Hearing. “A procedural hearing is a meeting to help the Inquiry prepare for a public hearing, to make sure it runs as well as possible.”
More information, and a record of what was said, is available on the Royal Commission’s website.
Catholic Entity confidentiality waiver is published.
Recognising the importance of survivors having absolute clarity regarding being able to fully tell their story to the Royal Commission, Te Rōpū Tautoko recommended to the Bishops and Congregational Leaders that they establish a process, similar to the Crowns, to enable all survivors to participate fully in the Commission. View the full waiver here.
29 October - 8 September
Contextual Hearing takes place in Auckland.
From the Commission’s website: “The Contextual hearing was the first public hearing of the Inquiry. Between 29 October to 8 November 2019, the Inquiry heard from witnesses on topics that provide context to the wide ranging scope of the Inquiry and that the Inquiry will explore in more detail over the next few years.”
At this hearing, Tautoko made a statement to the Royal Commission.
Tautoko also produced a thematic review of this hearing to update Catholic leaders who were unable to attend or view online.
March to August
Many thousands of documents provided to the Royal Commission from Catholic dioceses and congregations.
Dioceses and congregations worked to gather and provide a large number of documents that the Royal Commission requested. It is for the Royal Commission to decide what will be made public.
Te Rōpū Tautoko coordinated this work remotely, since COVID lockdown was in effect in New Zealand (and Australia & England, where some congregation archives are held).
Details of investigations released.
The Royal Commission has announced ten investigations. Those directly involving the Catholic Church include:
- Redress – State and Faith
- Abuse in the care of the Catholic Church
- Case study examining abuse of children at Marylands School (which was governed and managed by the St John of God brothers, a Catholic congregation)
The full list of investigations can be viewed on the Royal Commission’s website.
Procedural Hearing for Faith-based Redress.
A Procedural hearing to deal with applications made by faith-based orgnisations in relation to the Faith-based Redress Hearing, starting 30 November.
Due to the nature of the hearing it was not live streamed. The outcomes from this hearing can be viewed on the Commission’s website.
30 November - 11 December
Faith-based Redress Hearing: Phase One
The first phase of this hearing heard from survivors who shared their experiences of abuse and the redress processes of the Catholic Church, Anglican Church, and the Salvation Army.
The witness statements and other information can be viewed on the Commission’s website.
Interim Report released by Commission.
15 March - 26 March
Faith-based Redress Hearing: Phase Two
In the second phase of the hearing, witnesses for the churches will give evidence regarding the redress processes of the Catholic Church, Anglican Church, and the Salvation Army.