Tēnā koutou katoa
He mihi nui ki a koutou i roto i ngā ahuatanga o te wā.
I’m honoured to have been given the opportunity to lead the Independent Children’s Monitor. This is possibly the most important mahi that I’ve had the opportunity to be involved with and I’m determined that we do the very best we can for tamariki and rangatahi. They deserve no less. It’s also important we recognise the role whānau play in their lives.
I’ve spent the first three weeks in the seat getting to know the team, albeit remotely, and making connections with our partners. What I’ve quickly come to realise is how fortunate I am to have inherited such a great team. It already feels like home and the team’s dedication, care and aroha towards the work is awesome.
For many of you, I appreciate this will be your first opportunity to get to know me. First, my immediate whānau. I’m the extremely proud father of four tamariki, ensuring that home is never a quiet place. The eldest two have recently left home (for now at least), leaving my wife and I with just the two younger boys (fourteen and six). Second, my work background. I’ve always worked in social services and, for the most part, as a lawyer for the Ministry of Social Development. I’ve also led programmes for Work and Income, such as the Youth Service and, more recently, led one of the work streams in the Investing In Children Programme helping to set up a commissioning approach for Oranga Tamariki. My first ‘real’ job was as an Income Support case manager in Porirua, and that taught me the importance and value in serving New Zealanders. I’ve had plenty of people along the way to help show me the meaning of manaakitanga and it’s certainly what helps get me out of bed in the morning.
For the Monitor, getting this right requires us to listen to many voices and I’m a firm believer that the benefits from a day out of the office often outweighs a week’s worth time of spent behind the desk. So please don’t hesitate to give me a shout if there’s something that you think I need to see first-hand or if you just want to have a chat.
Nō reira, heoi anō tāku mō nāianei. I look forward to working with you on this journey.