National | Tamariki

Dr Claire Achmad appointed as chief children’s commissioner for Mana Mokopuna

“We are here to drive that change together, with, and for [mokopuna].”

Dr Claire Achmad has been appointed as the new Chief Children’s Commissioner leading Mana Mokopuna - the Children and Young People’s Commission, formerly the Office of the Children’s Commissioner.

She takes over the role from Judge Frances Eivers who will return to the bench after two years in the job.

Achmad has a PhD in international children’s rights law from the Netherlands, has experience working for international, Australian, and New Zealand child rights organisations, and has published worldwide on a variety of child rights-related topics.

She was chief executive of social service provider Te Pai Ora o Aotearoa most recently.

Achmad says she is ready to get to work on being an advocate for all mokopuna and doing right by them.

“We are steadfastly focused on one thing: advocating for the positive outcomes, wellbeing and the rights of all of Aotearoa, New Zealand’s mokopuna, including mokopuna Māori,” she says. “We do that with, together and for mokopuna, and in partnership with them and their whānau, hapū, iwi, hapori, community organisations that are out there every day, wrapping around our mokopuna.

Achieving system-wide change

“We are here to drive that change together, with, and for them.”

Achmad wants all mokopuna to have equitable opportunities in life, and to have a life worth living. That is no matter how big the work needs to be to achieve system-wide change.

“We know we need to do better when it comes to investing in our children, when it comes to focusing on prevention and early support. Then, when things do go wrong or challenges emerge, ensuring our whānau are resourced with everything they need to provide the strong safety nets so [whānau] can treasure them as the taonga that they are.”

Despite the harrowing statistics for family harm, domestic violence and abuse, Achmad knows that the country can do what’s necessary to do better.

“As a nation, I would like to see us opening up that discussion about what it means to actively keep all our mokopuna safe every day.”

Achmad is on a five-year term in the role.

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