Commissioners and senior leadership

Disability Rights Commissioner, Paula Tesoriero MNZM

Paula Tesoriero MNZM is a world-champion athlete and a former senior public service manager, who is currently serving as the Disability Rights Commissioner. 

A role within the Human Rights Commission, the Disability Rights Commissioner works to promote and protect the rights of disabled New Zealanders.  

Paula is a governance expert having served on several boards including the Halberg Disability Sport Foundation, New Zealand Artificial Limb Service, Sport Wellington and Paralympics New Zealand. She is also a member of the New Zealand Sports Tribunal.   

A law graduate from Victoria University, Paula has worked in private practice and as a General Manager at Statistics NZ and the Ministry of Justice. 

Winning gold in a world-record breaking time at the Beijing Summer Paralympics in 2008, in the women’s 500m time trial, and two bronze medals, her services to cycling were recognised when she was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2009. She retired as an athlete in 2010. 

Paula says her role as the Disability Rights Commissioner enables her to make a meaningful contribution to changing the outcomes for disabled New Zealanders, who make up nearly a quarter of our population.