The Royal Commission has entered a new phase of the inquiry by taking evidence under oath.
This is in addition to other methods of gathering evidence and insights including through meetings with a broad range of experts, leaders and community members.
“Taking sworn evidence from participants is a serious step to take and one that requires meticulous preparation and implementation,” says Commissioner Sir William Young.
“This very formal process allows the Royal Commission to thoroughly examine and interrogate the evidence and material provided to us.”
The Terms of Reference set by the Government direct the Royal Commission to inquire into the individual’s activities before the attack.
“We have taken evidence under oath from a number of people in relation to this aspect of the Terms of Reference and it has been very illuminating,” says Member Jacqui Caine.
Further evidential interactions like this are planned with a range of individuals and organisations, alongside continued requests for specific information.
In July the Royal Commission extended an invitation to current and former staff (and contractors) of State sector agencies, to talk directly with the Royal Commission.
This invitation provides an option for those with relevant and potentially valuable information, to talk with the Royal Commission directly and privately.
“We have these conversations in private and with a very, very careful process wrapped around people so they can be confident sharing information without fear of repercussions on their current or future employment.
I’m pleased to say that we have received information, evidence and insights vital to the inquiry through this route,” says Sir William
Meetings with families and survivors continue in private and with the greatest respect for all of those affected by the traumatic events in Christchurch on 15 March 2019.
The Muslim Community Reference Group has now met with the Royal Commission three times and there is active engagement with Muslim communities.
“We have always maintained the importance of meeting with community members, to gain insights and guidance to help the inquiry,” says Jacqui Caine.
Meetings have also been held with the following people and organisations recently:
- Ibrahim Ali, Chairman, Somali Education and Development Trust
- Anita Balakrishnan, former Director Office of Ethnic Communities
- Gregory Fortuin, former Race Relations Conciliator
- Paul Hunt, Human Rights Commission
- Ziena Jalil, Advisory Board Member for New Zealand Asian Leaders; an Established Member of Super Diverse Women; Consulting Partner, Senate SHJ
- Omar Khan, President and Sara Afsharpur, Vice President, University of Auckland Muslim Students’ Association
- Chris Laidlaw, former Race Relations Conciliator
- Laulu Mac Leauanae, Chief Executive, Ministry for Pacific Peoples
- Musa Botan Mohammed, Chairman; Anne Lee, Manager; Shaima’a Al-Badri, Social Worker; Khurshed Shah, Social Worker; Bahja Ali, Social Worker; and Whitney Jessett, Administrator; Umma Trust
- John Ryan, Controller and Auditor-General
- Mohammad Soliman, President and Mohammad Saad Hassan, Vice President, Auckland University of Technology Muslim Students’ Association
- Christine Stevenson, Chief Executive, Department of Corrections
- The Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand
- Islamic Women’s Council of New Zealand
The Royal Commission now has an established secretariat both in Wellington and in Christchurch and is gathering evidence and insights at pace, while ramping up community engagement progressively.
“We still have much to do, to follow every active line of inquiry to its conclusion, hear the views of the community and ultimately meet public expectations by presenting robust findings and recommendations for the future,” says Sir William.