We advocate for the interests, rights and wellbeing of children and young people

Judge Andrew Becroft, Children’s Commissioner

His Honour Judge Andrew Becroft was appointed a District Court Judge in 1996. In 2001, he became the Principal Youth Court Judge of New Zealand; a role that he held until 2016 when he was appointed the Children’s Commissioner.

Born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Judge Becroft graduated from Auckland University in 1981 with a BA/LLB (Honours) degree. He practised in Auckland with the firm Fortune Manning & Partners until 1986 when he then assisted with the establishment of the Mangere Community Law Centre and worked there until 1993. He then worked as a criminal barrister in South Auckland until his appointment to the District Court bench, sitting in Whanganui, from 1996.

Judge Becroft is a former council member of the Auckland District Law Society and the New Zealand Law Society. He is an editor of LexisNexis “Transport Law”, the Patron of the New Zealand Speak Easy Association Inc., which assists those with various forms of speech impediment, Chair of the Board of the Tertiary Students Christian Fellowship (NZ) Inc, and Chair of the Wellington College Football Club.

In 2009, Judge Becroft received an award from the Public Relations Institute of New Zealand as Communicator of the Year.  In 2010 Judge Becroft was the recipient of a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Auckland. Judge Becroft was the 2018 winner of the Public Service Category at the Wellingtonian of the Year awards for helping vulnerable young people as Children's Commissioner.

He is married with three children. Judge Becroft is a keen sports watcher, but he confesses, only an average (but enthusiastic) participant. He is strongly committed to a specialist approach to dealing with youth offenders and is an advocate for youth issues.

Judge Becroft's EA is Tracy Ford. Contact Tracy by email or on 04 470 9121  

The Strategy, Rights and Advice team

Donna Provoost, Director

Contact Donna by email or call 04 470 8713 

Donna is an economist with 20 years’ experience as a researcher, policy analyst and manager. Most of her professional work has focused on issues in the social sector including poverty, community development, and supporting everyone to thrive.

Since making New Zealand home in 2004, Donna has worked in the Ministries of Education, Justice and Science and Innovation. Donna joined the Office in March 2012. She leads work across a range of activities to support better outcomes for New Zealand children, including providing advice on children’s rights and child-centered policy, collecting and sharing the voice and views of children, making formal submissions and advocating for the best interests of children.

Donna lives in Wainuiomata with her partner and daughter. In her spare time she chairs Inspiring Communities, a national NGO focused on supporting community-led change.

Emma Hope, Senior Advisor

Contact Emma by email or call 04 470 8716

Born and raised in Perth, Western Australia, Emma came to Aotearoa in 2007 for a one year work experience, and has lived here ever since. Emma has worked in public health and local government roles on both sides of the Tasman since 2002, and has worked in roles to supporting children and young people to be involved with issues that affect them since 2007.

Emma has two young sons and works at the Office in a part time capacity supporting the Mai World: Child and Youth Voices work. This is a national mechanism through which children and young people can exercise their right to have a say in matters that affect them, to raise awareness and increase youth engagement, and to bring children and young people’s voices to the attention of national decision makers. 

Julia Amua Whaipooti (Ngāti Porou), Senior Advisor/Kaitohutohu

Contact Julia on email or call 04 470 9125

Julia is a staunch advocate for systemic change.  She has been involved in the Community Law movement over the past 8 years as a volunteer, advocate, lawyer and National Māori Co-ordinator and is on the board for Justspeak. Julia has a particular understanding of the many social justice failures that have seen far too many children and young people who enter care and protection systems, graduate to our youth justice system and then to the adult criminal justice system. In 2018 was appointed by to Te Uepū - Independent Criminal Justice Advisory group.  Julia believes rangatahi are experts of their own experiences and need to be understood in the context of their whānau and environment they live in.   

Dr Kathleen Logan, Senior Advisor

Contact Kathleen by email or call 04 495 7804

Kathleen is a researcher who came to the Office in December 2013. Kathleen’s focus is on the research and evidence base that supports the Commissioner’s role to advocate for children, and provide child-centred advice to agencies. Kathleen has experience from the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology in government science, strategy and investment policy, and was manager of the policy and evaluation team at the Royal Society of New Zealand. Prior to this Kathleen was a research scientist in reproduction and genetics for more than 12 years.

Kathleen is the Children's Commissioner's representative on, and Acting Chair of, a Ministerially-appointed Advisory Committee on Assisted Reproductive Technology. On this committee she promotes children's wellbeing and rights in the regulation of fertility treatment in New Zealand. Her PhD from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne was in reproductive physiology.

Kelsey Brown, Senior Advisor

Contact Kelsey by email or call 04 470 9124 

Kelsey is originally from Dunedin, where she studied at the University of Otago and graduated with an LLB/BA. During her studies she volunteered at the Dunedin Community Law Centre and led a volunteer advocacy programme, supporting children and young people at a CYF Care and Protection residence. It was through her volunteer work that she started to see how she could build her career around what she’s most passionate about – ensuring Aotearoa’s children and young people have their voice heard, and are empowered to achieve their potential.

Kelsey worked at the Ministry of Social Development on child, youth, family and community policy, with a strong focus on youth justice, before joining the Office in January 2017. She leads the Mai World: Child and Youth Voices work. This is a national mechanism through which children and young people can exercise their right to have a say in matters that affect them, to raise awareness and increase youth engagement, and to bring children and young people’s voices to the attention of national decision makers.

Kelsey has completed post graduate study through the Children’s Issues Centre at the University of Otago, and is currently working on her LLM in children’s rights through the University of Otago Law Faculty. In Kelsey’s spare time she is always keen to explore new places, both here at home, and abroad.

Peter Foaese, Youth and Community Engagement Specialist

Contact Peter on email

Peter is a qualified youth worker with 10 years’ experience. He has worked with youth across the country and is especially committed to empowering young people who are marginalised and shunned by society to dream their futures and transform their present. Peter is a Samoan born in NZ, raised in a humble home in Petone, the first European settlement in Aotearoa, and schooled in Te Ao Māori. He has journeyed the shifting and changing world our children and young people walk in.

Peter shares his culture and skills in a number of governance boards and local/national/international organisations to ensure children of all backgrounds are meaningfully engaged and can share their views and contribute to positive change.

Peter joined the Office in December 2016 and his work focuses on engaging with children and young people to hear their views as part of the Mai World initiative.

Sarah Morris, Senior Advisor on Children’s Rights

Contact Sarah on email or call 04 470 8717

Sarah has over 12 years’ experience working with leading international development agencies like UNICEF and Oxfam. Prior to joining the Office in July 2017, she was running her own consultancy business supporting non-government organisations and charitable trusts in the social and environmental justice space. She also had previously been the International Advocacy Manager at UNICEF New Zealand.

Sarah has specific responsibility for promoting and monitoring the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Sarah lives in Lower Hutt and spends most of her time with her two spectacular daughters, Nia and Anushka.

Holly Walker, Principal Advisor

Contact Holly by email or call 04 931 7191

Holly has worked on children’s issues, social policy, and inequality for more than a decade, as a researcher, writer, political advisor, MP and most recently as Principal Adviser to the Strategy, Rights and Advice team at the Office. Since joining the team in 2014, she has led work on children’s rights and child-centred thinking, both internally and with government agencies on how they can be more child-centred in their practice. Holly returned from a year’s parental leave in September 2018 and now works part-time as a specialist writer and facilitator in the SRA team. When not at work she is a PhD student in creative writing and parent to two wonderful daughters.

Telesia Siale (Sia), Senior Advisor

Contact Sia by email or call 04 9317197

Sia is a New Zealand-born Samoan from Wellington, where she completed an LLB/BCom at Victoria University in 2015. Her work has since focused on systemic improvements across the justice sector, including volunteering at the Whitireia Community Law Centre, supporting the establishment of the inaugural Chief Victims Advisor to Government and supporting the establishment of the Hāpaitia te Oranga Tangata, Safe and Effective Justice programme, a programme focused on reforming the justice system to create better outcomes and uplifting the wellbeing of communities.

Sia joined the Office in November 2018. She continues to work part time in her role at the Ministry of Justice, with a particular focus on effective engagement with children and young people to ensure their views and voices are incorporated in any justice system reforms.

Waimarie Mete, Advisor

Contact Waimarie by email or call 04 495 7802

Waimarie was raised in Mahia, a small town on the East Coast of the North Island. In 2016 she moved to Wellington after finishing high school at Gisborne Girls High. She has since completed a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Criminology and History at Victoria University and has been a part of the office since October 2018.

Prior to working at the Office of the Children’s Commissioner Waimarie worked with children and young people in after school care. Her lived experience has been an integral part of her motivation to advocate for children and young people in New Zealand. Waimarie has a specific interest in improving the wellbeing of rangatahi and tamariki Māori, and hopes to use her personal and professional experience to enable system wide equity. 

The Child Rights Advice Line

Maggie Wear, Child Rights Advisor

Contact Maggie by email or call the Child Rights Line on 0800 224 453  

Maggie has spent most of her career as a social worker in Wellington. She responds to calls and emails through the Child Rights Line from people concerned about the rights or wellbeing of an individual child or young person. Maggie advises and refers callers to assist with those cases. She has been with the Office since 2011.

The Development, Monitoring and Investigations team

The team monitors services under the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989

Liz Kinley, Director

Contact Liz by email or call 04 495 7801

Liz has thirty years of social work practice, management and leadership experience working with child and family centred social services in both the statutory and community sectors. This includes: many years working with Child, Youth and Family (now Oranga Tamariki) as a social worker, supervisor, site manager and senior advisor to the Chief Social Worker; seven years as the Chief Executive for Jigsaw Family Services, a national child-centred family violence prevention NGO; several years working for the Ministry of Social Development’s Investing in Services for Outcomes (ISO) team, leading the design of the ISO NGO organisational self-assessment tool and capability development framework; and most recently five years leading the Children’s Commissioner’s Development, Monitoring and Investigations Team.

Brian Gardner, Principal Advisor

Contact Brian on email or call on 04 495 7803 

Brian has over twenty years’ experience in social work, management and leadership roles in government and community organisations. This includes therapeutic work with children, young people, their families and whānau in the child and adolescent mental health sector and the coordination and delivery of family violence prevention programmes within local communities.

For ten years he was the national manager for the National Network of Stopping Violence Services where he led a national network of community agencies and worked closely with government and NGO partners on shared initiatives to reduce family violence. For the year prior to joining the Office he was the Senior Advisor in the Ministry of Social Development’s Family Violence Unit.

Dr Sarah Hayward, Principal Advisor

Contact Sarah on email or call 04 470 8718 

Dr Sarah Hayward is an experienced child and family psychologist. Prior to moving to New Zealand in 2005, Sarah worked as a researcher and therapist for the Parenting and Family Support Centre, University of Queensland for over 10 years and is an accredited trainer for Triple P-Positive Parenting Program.

Sarah has many years’ experience in public sector strategy, policy and implementation. Prior to joining the Office, she worked in principal advisor and management roles at the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Justice where she led policy and service development in the areas of: child and youth mental health, primary mental health care, and addressing the drivers of crime.

Sarah completed her PhD in public health from the Queensland University of Technology in 2003. The topic of her PhD research was school-based mental health promotion. She has authored several articles on family risk factors, promoting family mental health, and the identification of children at risk of developing behavioural or emotional problems.

Sarah Scott, Senior Advisor

Contact Sarah on email or call 04 470 9127

Sarah originally trained as a social worker and has over twenty years’ experience as a practitioner, supervisor and advisor, specialising in the care and protection of children. For two years, she worked in the Office of the Chief Social Worker, reviewing cases where there had been deaths or other exceptional events involving children and young people.

In 2005 she moved to prevention, working with SKIP (Strategies for Kids Information for Parents) and the It’s Not OK family violence awareness campaign, supporting parents, whānau and communities to keep children safe. Sarah also worked at Historic Claims, hearing the accounts of people who had been abused in state care and assessing their claims.

Prior to joining the Office in July 2017, Sarah worked on user-centred design projects, co-designing services and supports for a range of people, including parents and whānau of children with disabilities.

Te Awa Puketapu, Senior Advisor

Contact Te Awa on email or call 04 470 9128

Te Awa was born in Lower Hutt, Wellington and has lived in Wainuiomata all her life. She has two school aged children and originally trained as a primary teacher. She has been working in education for nearly 20 years.

Te Awa joined the Office in August 2017 and is currently on secondment from the Ministry of Education. Her work has varied from being a teacher, managing and establishing a Kohanga Reo, national programme coordinator for the Tū Tangata programme, overseas teaching for a short period of time, Review Officer for the Education Review Office, a Senior Advisor in the Parents, Families and Whānau team for the Ministry of Education and as a Senior Advisor for schools.

Te Awa is passionate about whānau being the driving force for their own decisions and supporting them to realise their own potential. Ensuring that whānau voice is at the fore regardless of the context is also crucially important. Alongside this, is recognising the important role of hapū and iwi in everything we do regarding Māori.

Sapela (Belle) Tuimaseve-Fox, Senior Advisor

Contact Belle by email or call 04 4709126

Belle was born in Matamata and is of Samoan (father) and Māori (Ngati Hauā) descent which helped to shape her understanding of the world from a Pasifika and Maori perspective. 

Belle has over twenty years in various leadership roles and experiences in education from Primary through to Secondary schools, and most recently as a Resource Teacher of Learning & Behaviour (RTLB). She has done extensive work in facilitating, leading and managing school and cluster wide teams through transformational change such as Restorative Practices and Positive Behaviour for learning systems. Belle also had the privilege to work alongside her iwi, Ngati Hauā in progressing, negotiating and securing their Treaty of Waitangi claim with the Crown.

Belle joined the office in August 2018 and is part of the Development, Monitoring and Investigations team with opportunities of working in the cross-educational team with the Strategy, Rights and Advice team.

Noel Rawiri Woods, Advisor

Contact Noel by email or call 04 931 7190

He uri tenei manu mai ngā iwi o Ngāti Porou, Te Atiawa me Ngāruahinerangi.

Noel was born and raised at Waiwhetu Marae, Lower Hutt. His work has varied from being a teacher, youth worker, musician, event manager, and currently a part-time radio host at the local Wellington iwi station, Atiawa Toa FM. Other interests include sports and the revitalisation/normalisation of te reo Māori. He is currently a director of T.A Productions, a company created to produce reo Māori content.

His community involvement ranges from being a trustee of Waiwhetu Marae, member of the Care & Protection Epuni Community Liaison Committee, and an elected member of the Hutt City Council Arts & Cultural Sub Committee.

Noel is passionate about our young people and believes working closely with whānau, hapū, iwi and communities is crucial in supporting them to realise their own potential. Alongside this, is recognising the important role of whānau in decision making and incorporating values of te ao Māori in everything we do regarding mokopuna Māori and all children in Aotearoa.

Mauri Ora!

The Corporate team

Patrick Labotsky, Business Manager

Contact Patrick by email or call 04 470 8711

Patrick has been working as a Business Manager in various Departments in the New Zealand public sector for the past 11 years. Prior to moving to New Zealand he was a Deputy Director in the Gauteng Health Services in South Africa managing the office of the Chief Executive. His role is to support the Office in all aspects of business, financial and budget management, strategic planning, reporting, human resources, project management as well as policy and process development.   

Carina Owen, Business Support Advisor

Contact Carina by email or call 04 470 8715

Carina provides support to the Office and is responsible for coordinating and administering office-wide systems, tools and processes to support best practice in a wide range of corporate areas and responsibilities - contributing to the overall performance of the Office. This includes finance, human resources and payroll, procurement, commission and contracts, reporting, project management and business continuity. 

Tracy Ford, Executive Assistant to the Children’s Commissioner

Contact Tracy via by email or on 04 470 9121

Tracy is a highly experienced Senior Executive Assistant, with exceptional communication, resilience and interpersonal skills. Her background is in Office Management, Business Plans and Continuity, Risk Management, and Board Secretarial. She joined the Office in October 2016, having worked predominantly at Chief Executive level for most of her career, including within the NGO sector with organisations committed to the care and advocacy of children. Tracy provides executive level management administrative support, and a solutions orientation focus in supporting the Commissioner in all aspects of his workflow planning, diary commitments, speaking engagements and public presentations.

Tracy’s interests center around opportunities of engagement with children, and naturally includes lots of family time with her own two sons. She is happiest when camping in the bush, watching motorsport, or playing board games, and lives her life actively contributing to raising engaged children within a community atmosphere. 

Communications

Chris Nichol, Principal Advisor, Media and Communications

Chris has worked as a producer and director with TVNZ. His company, Mixed Media Ltd, provides services in communications, media training, issues management, public relations, facilitation and mediation. He has worked extensively as a communications manager in the not-for-profit sector and also taught a course in Religion, Media and Culture at Victoria University.

Chris' interests include family, music, malt whisky, all forms of sport and holidaying in Golden Bay. Chris is married with three adult children.

If you have a media enquiry, contact Chris by email or call 027 696 5101. For information or advice about children’s rights, call 0800 224 453 or email advice@occ.org.nz.  

Alison Grant, Communications Advisor

Contact Alison by email or call 029 254 9951 or 04 931 7193

Alison has been working in the public sphere since 2015. Originally a print journalist, Alison moved into communications in April of 2015, working for then Mayor of Auckland, Len Brown. She thrived in local government and continued to work in the Office of the Mayor of Auckland under Mayor Phil Goff until July 2017. Alison then moved to Japan to work as an Assistant Language Teacher on the JET Programme. There she was inspired by the young Japanese students she taught which lead to her return to New Zealand a year later to snap up a position at the Office of the Children’s Commissioner. 

Outside of work, Alison continues her passion for Japanese culture by performing with Wellington-based Japanese drum troupe, Narukami Taiko, and studying Japanese.

Arieta Taito, Graduate Communications Advisor

Contact Arieta by email or call 04 931 7194

Arieta is a New Zealand-born Samoan/Tokelauan living in Wellington where she completed a Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies, Film and Pacific Studies. Her work since then has involved children and youth in all instances, including working as a Pasifika Ambassador at Victoria University of Wellington and volunteering for Kids Camps New Zealand - a charity that runs a 5-day camp for at-risk children.

New to the communications sphere, Arieta joined the team as an intern in August 2018, and has been supporting the communications team through design and social media. Outside of work, Arieta's interests include family, design, art and gaming. 


Commissioner’s top priorities

Andrew 320

The Office of the Children’s Commissioner is focused on ensuring Aotearoa New Zealand is a place where all children can thrive. The current Children's Commissioner is Judge Andrew Becroft. Before taking up the position on 1 July 2016 he was New Zealand's Principal Youth Court Judge.

Children’s Commissioner’s top priorities

Our history