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Letter concerning the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State Care

from Catholic Bishops of Aotearoa and representation from Catholic religious orders

Tēnā koutou Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, Hon Tracey Martin, and Sir Anand Satyanand,

We are writing to you to offer our full support for the work of the Royal Commission of Inquiry
into Historical Abuse in State Care.

Like others, we are deeply disturbed when we learn of historical or current abuse that has
occurred in institutions, including any run by Churches. The draft terms of reference of the inquiry
make clear the recognition that historical abuse must be examined, understood, acknowledged
and addressed. Our views fully concur with this approach and we agree too that this is the way
to learn lessons for today and the future, and continue to work towards healing.

Some think that Churches, and other groups and agencies, will be somehow left out of the
Inquiry. The draft terms of references do indicate that the Inquiry will include people whom the
State directed to a wide range of Institutions including those run by Church groups.

Notwithstanding this, we are of the firm view that no individual should be denied the possibility
of making a submission to this Government inquiry. It would be wrong if some individuals felt
excluded from this process simply because their path of referral to an institution was different
from someone else’s. Therefore we are calling for a broadening of the Inquiry’s terms of
reference. Similarly, we are of the view that when the Commission’s work turns to the Institutions
themselves, included among them should be a range of Church institutions. In this way we too
will be active contributors and learners within the Royal Commission of Inquiry.

We assure you once again of our support and our desire to learn from this national undertaking
which we are confident will contribute positively to the strengthening and safeguarding of our
whānau, communities and society.

Ngā mihi o tēnei wā.

Nā mātou. Nā

Bishop Patrick Dunn Sr Katrina Fabish RSM


Catholic Bishop of Auckland Congregational Leader
President Nga Whaea Atawhai o Aotearoa
Te Huinga o ngā Pīhopa Katorika o Aotearoa Sisters of Mercy New Zealand
New Zealand Catholic Bishops