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About the Commissioner
Dr Russell Wills
Dr Russell Wills is New Zealand’s Children’s Commissioner. His five-year term as Commissioner began on 1 July 2011.
Dr Wills trained at the University of Otago Medical School in Dunedin and Christchurch. He began his paediatric training in the United Kingdom. He completed his training, and gained a Master of Public Health degree, in Brisbane. He returned to New Zealand and took up the roles of national paediatrician for Plunket, senior lecturer at the Wellington School of Medicine and community paediatrician at Wellington Hospital.
Dr Wills then returned to his home region of Hawke’s Bay, where he became a general and community paediatrician at Hawke’s Bay hospital. Prior to starting the role as Children’s Commissioner Dr Wills was the head of the paediatrics department at the hospital. Dr Wills’ clinical interests are in general paediatrics, child protection and children with severe behaviour disturbance. He sees many children with autism, ADHD, foetal alcohol effects and the behavioural and developmental effects of abuse and neglect. His referrals come from general practitioners, Child, Youth and Family, Special Schools, Special Education, Resource Teachers Learning and Behaviour and non-governmental health and social services.
He has had leadership roles in community paediatrics with the Paediatric Society of New Zealand and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, and has contributed to national guidelines and projects on autism, family violence, child abuse and medical aspects of children in Child, Youth and Family care
The Commissioner lives in Hastings with his wife and two sons. He will remain a paediatrician in Hastings half-time and Commissioner half-time.