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

Judge Frances Eivers, Children’s Commissioner

Her Honour Judge Frances Eivers is our current Children's Commissioner. She is Ngāti Maniapoto and Waikato. Before being appointed Commissioner, she was a Judge in the District Court in Manukau, working extensively with mokopuna in our court system. 

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

Glenis Phillip-Barbara, Kaikōmihana Māori mō ngā tamariki ō Aotearoa

Glenis (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Uepōhatu, Clan McDonald) is an experienced senior leader and the first person to be appointed to the newly-created position of Assistant Māori Commissioner. She has thirty years of experience as a community advocate, a senior public service leader and in working with whānau, hapū and iwi to recover mātauranga Māori.

In her role, she is driven to ensure all tamariki know their whakapapa, are connected to their whānau and grow up to be amazing tipuna for the generations to follow.

The Strategy, Rights and Advice team

Dr Katie Bruce, Acting Director Strategy, Rights and Advice

Contact Katie by email or call 029 94 4103

Katie Bruce joined the OCC in 2019 from the community sector where she was CE of Volunteering New Zealand and, before that, Director of youth justice movement JustSpeak. She has also previously worked in youth policy at MSD.

Katie is from the UK, where she was involved in youth advocacy and programme design from a young age. Katie has a PhD in Sociology and Social Policy and has worked on research projects on topics such as the community sector during recession, family rituals and the criminalisation of young people.

Sarah Morris, Manager Child-centred Advice

Contact Sarah on email

Sarah has specific responsibility for supporting the Commissioner to monitor and advance the Government’s implementation of the Untied Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Born in Tamaki Makaurau, Sarah now lives in Te Awakairangi and is the proud mum of two spectacular daughters. Sarah trained as a journalist before moving abroad and establishing a career in international development working for agencies like UNICEF and Oxfam to end poverty and champion human rights. Prior to joining the Office in July 2017, she was running her own consultancy business supporting non-government organisations and charitable trusts working for social and environmental justice.

The Development, Monitoring and Investigations team

Rhonda Taylor, Manager Monitoring – Places of Detention

Rhonda moved to Wellington from Napier with her family 20 years ago. She has worked in different public sector environments during that time, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Ministry of Education, Child Youth and Family, and Te Arawhiti. Most recently she was working for Historic Claims within the Ministry of Social Development.

Rhonda was drawn to the kaupapa of OCC because it has a strong values base which are very much aligned to her own personal values. She counts becoming a nana and completing her MBA at Victoria University whilst working full-time as two highlights of the past 10 years.

The Corporate team

Patrick Labotsky, Corporate Services Manager

Contact Patrick by email or call 04 470 8711

Born and raised in Pretoria South Africa, Patrick came to New Zealand in 2006. 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 Operating Officer and Chief Executive. He started working in the Ministry of Health in the Disability Services Directorate, then moved to the Information Directorate and then the newly established National Health Board. He then held Business Manager roles in the Department of Building & Housing and MBIE, before moving into this role in 2013. His role is to support the Office in all aspects of business, financial and budget management, strategic planning, reporting, human resources, accountability, IT, facilities, project management as well as policy and process development.   

Communications

Leah Haines, Manager, Media and Communications

Contact Leah by email or call 027 696 5101.

Leah has worked in media, communications and policy for more than 20 years and has specialised in children’s issues in all her roles. She grew up in Auckland and has four children ranging from primary school age to adult.

Leah joined the Office of the Children’s Commissioner in September 2020 after spending a year studying for a Masters of Public policy. Leah worked for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as a senior press secretary and has led communications and media teams for the New Zealand Education Institute and the Green Party of Aotearoa. She is also an award-winning journalist and has worked as a social policy advisor. Leah is passionate about using evidence-based solutions to improve the lives of New Zealand’s children.


Commissioner’s top priorities

The Office of the Children’s Commissioner is focused on ensuring Aotearoa New Zealand is a place where all mokopuna live their best lives. The current Children's Commissioner is Judge Frances Eivers, who took on the role on the 1st of November, 2021. 

Children’s Commissioner’s top priorities

Our history