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

A wide set of statutory functions set out in the following Acts and international conventions determines the scope of our work and promotes the rights and wellbeing of children.

The Children’s Commissioner Act 2003

This act describes the functions and powers of the Children’s Commissioner and our office. It covers the role of the Children’s Commissioner as an advocate for children as well as functions and powers in relation to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (the Children’s Convention). It also describes the role of the Children’s Commissioner in monitoring and assessing the policies and practices of Oranga Tamariki, and encouraging the development of policies and practices that promote the wellbeing of children and young people.

Oranga Tamariki Act 1989

The purpose of this act is to promote the wellbeing of children and young people, their families, whānau, hapū, iwi and family groups. It provides the legislative basis for New Zealand’s care & protection and youth justice system.

Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT)

This United Nations convention forms the basis for a system of regular visits, undertaken by independent national and international organisations, to places where people are deprived of their liberty. The purpose of the visits is to prevent torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

New Zealand’s compliance with OPCAT is implemented through the Crimes of Torture Act 1989 (COTA). In this legislation, the Children’s Commissioner is designated as a ‘National Preventive Mechanism’ with responsibility for monitoring youth justice and care & protection residences.

United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (the Children’s Convention)

The Children’s Convention defines the universal basic rights of all people under 18 years. The Children’s Commissioner has the statutory responsibility for raising awareness and understanding of the Children’s Convention, and advancing and monitoring its application by Departments of State and other instruments of the Crown.