New body to facilitate Church’s response to Royal commission

royal commission

Catherine Fyfe will chair a group of people who will ensure that the Catholic Church provides a co-ordinated and co-operative response to the Historical Abuse in State Care Royal Commission.

Fyfe is a layperson with extensive experience in human resource management and organisational development.

The New Zealand Catholic bishops and the heads of all religious congregations have called for the terms of reference for the Commission to be as broad as possible to ensure the Church is included.

But the Government has yet to confirm the Terms of Reference for the Commission or explain how it will operate.

The group is called Te Rōpū Tautoko. It represents all the dioceses, congregations and institutions of the Catholic Church in New Zealand.

Their representative bodies – the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference – Te Huinga o ngā Pihopa Katorika o Aotearoa (NZCBC) and the Congregational Leaders’ Conference Aotearoa New Zealand (CLCANZ) have appointed the following to be members of Te Rōpū Tautoko:

  • Bishop Charles Drennan from the Diocese of Palmerston North
  • Sr Katrina Fabish from the Sisters of Mercy
  • Deacon Danny Karatea-Goddard from the NZCBC Secretariat
  • Fr David Kennerley from the Society of Mary
  • Br David McDonald from the Marist Brothers
  • Sr Jane O’Carroll from the Marist Sisters

“Our aim is quite simple – to support the Royal Commission, ” said Fyfe in a statement released on 23 October.

“This group collectively represents senior leadership of the Church and more members may be added when we have greater clarity around the needs and expertise required to support the Royal Commission.

“In creating the Tautoko, the NZCBC and the CLCANZ recognise that our pilgrim Church, like the Government, is seeking a collective approach to understanding, reviewing and addressing the learnings of the past.”

Fyfe said the way lessons are learned today and for the future is by examining, understanding, acknowledging and addressing what has occurred.

“We will collectively work towards healing. To do that, we must support the Royal Commission with the information they need.”

Te Rōpū Tautoko terms of reference states:

“We participate in the processes of the Commission as a wounded whānau. Because of, not in spite of, our own brokenness in regard to abuse, we offer our lessons.

“These [lessons] come from a place of deep humility. All we have to offer is our own experiences and the call to justice, mercy and forgiveness of Jesus Christ, Hehu Karaiti.”


  • Communications Advisor NZ Catholic Bishops/Te Huinga o ngā Pīhopa Katorika o Aotearoa
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