MEDIA RELEASE – Embargoed until 4.30pm
2 October 2018
Appointment of two new Commissioners for the Human Rights Commission
The Human Rights Commission welcomes the appointment of two new Commissioners, announced today by Justice Minister
• Professor Paul Hunt has been appointed the Chief Human Rights Commissioner. Professor Hunt will the join
Commission in January 2019.
• The new Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner will be Dr Saunoamaali’i Karanina Sumeo.
Acting Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero, who agreed to take on the role on a temporary basis, remains as
the Disability Rights Commissioner and will continue to act as Chief Commissioner until Professor Hunt takes up the
Ms Tesoriero says she is looking forward to working with the new Commissioners who will bring fresh perspectives and
ideas to the work of the Commission.
“The new Commissioners are highly qualified and bring a wealth of experience to their work. Their appointments are an
exciting opportunity to build on what’s been achieved by the Commission and to continue our work of helping create a
fairer, more harmonious society,” Ms Tesoriero says.
With Dr Sumeo joining the Commission in late October, the current Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Dr Jackie
Blue’s term will end later this month.
Ms Tesoriero thanked Dr Blue for continuing in her role after her term ended in June until the new Commissioners were
“I am grateful for Jackie’s dedication and expertise and thank her for the contribution to strengthening human rights
across all communities in Aotearoa New Zealand, especially for women, the rainbow community, and those facing
discrimination in the workplace.”
Note to Editors
• Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero took over as the acting head of the Human Rights Commission on 25
• Ms Tesoriero agreed to take on the leadership short term following Chief Human Rights Commissioner David
Rutherford’s decision to leave the Commission at the end of the financial year in June.
• Mr Rutherford had been Chief Human Rights Commissioner since 2011 and his term expired in 2016. He had indicated
his intention not to seek reappointment.
• Ms Tesoriero, who was appointed Disability Rights Commissioner in late 2017, will be acting Chief Human Rights
Commissioner until three new Commissioners, including a new Chief Commissioner, are appointed.
• Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue’s term expired in June 2018. She had indicated that
she would not be seeking reappointment. However, she agreed to continue in her role until new Commissioners were
• Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy’s term expired in March 2018. She also did not seek reappointment
and left the Commission at the end of June.