Ki ngā Marae maha o te motu, ngā maunga iringa kōrero, ngā awa tukutuku roimata, ngā reo, ngā mana, me ngā waka, tena koutou katoa. He nui ngā mihi, he nui ngā kaupapa, kawea i runga i te ōrite o te tika, te pono, te rangimārie me te aroha

Human rights are vital to peace, security and sustainable development worldwide. Poverty, conflict, violence and terrorism flourish where human rights are denied.

In New Zealand , human rights underlie our expectations about life, education, health and work, about our personal security, equal opportunity and fair treatment, about our ability to have a say and our system of government.

The Human Rights Commission has a statutory responsibility to develop a national action plan for the better protection and promotion of human rights in New Zealand. In meeting that responsibility, we have worked in partnership with the Children's Commissioner.

Mana ki te Tangata / The New Zealand Action Plan for Human Rights (the Action Plan) is the first such plan to be drawn up for this country. It identifies what must be done over the next five years so that the human rights of everyone who lives in New Zealand are better recognised, protected and respected.

The Action Plan builds on the achievements of successive generations of New Zealanders committed to ensuring that everyone gets a fair go. It builds on the legislation, policies and programmes of successive governments, whose largely pragmatic and practical approach has delivered much.

New Zealand meets international human rights standards in many respects, and often surpasses them. We have most of the elements necessary for the effective promotion, protection and fulfilment of human rights. As adults we are generally free to say what we think, read and view what we like, worship where and how we choose, move freely around the country, and feel confident in the laws that protect us from discrimination and the arbitrary abuse of power. Most New Zealanders today also experience the benefits of the economic, social and cultural rights - education, decent work, good health, and affordable, healthy housing.

We are confident that this plan is achievable because in so many areas, government strategies and policies are already acknowledging and addressing the issues. Equally it reflects the evidence that in some crucial areas, New Zealand falls well short of fully recognising and actively respecting the human rights of all its people.


The Action Plan draws on Human Rights in New Zealand Today / Ngā Tika Tangata O Te Motu, the first comprehensive assessment of the status of human rights in New Zealand, and the contributions of over 5,000 individuals, groups and organisations who made submissions and participated in nationwide consultations and in the extensive public opinion research. It has benefited from the generous and critical guidance of the members of the National Advisory Council, and the Race Relations, Children's Rights and Disability Sector Advisory Group s. Members of the Government Liaison Committee and staff of government departments provided consistently challenging and high quality information, analysis and advice, as did colleagues from the Mental Health Commission, Te Taura Whiri I Te Reo Māori: the Maori Language Commission, the Families Commission, the Electoral Commission, the Offices of the Health and Disability Commissioner, the Privacy Commissioner and the Ombudsmen.

The Action Plan identifies key human rights outcomes and the actions needed to achieve them. Implementation programmes with specific timelines will be developed with the relevant agencies and organisations. Just half the proposed actions fall within the sphere of government.

The Action Plan recognises that while government has specific responsibilities for the promotion and protection of human rights, responsibilities extend beyond the State to regional and local government, to the business and community sectors, to voluntary groups and organisations. Indeed, each of us has a responsibility to respect and protect the rights of others. This is crucial in the case of children, and of those adults who are dependent on others for their care and survival.


We are confident that this Action Plan provides a practical and constructive commitment to the rights set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In the turbulent, fast changing world of the 21st century, those rights provide the best basis for ensuring the dignity, equality and security of every man, woman and child in New Zealand .

“He aha te mea nui o tenei Ao?

Māku e kī atu he tangata, he tangata, he tangata”.

Rosslyn Noonan
Chief Commissioner/ Te Amokapua

Cindy Kiro
Children’s Commissioner/ Kaikomihana mō ngā tamariki

Joris de Bres
Race Relations Commissioner / Kaihautu Whakawhanaunga ā Iwi

Judy McGregor
EEO Commissioner / Kaihautu Oritenga Mahi

Robyn Hunt
Commissioner / Kaihautu

Joy Liddicoat
Commissioner / Kaihautu

Warren Lindberg
Commissioner / Kaihautu

Merimeri Penfold
Commissioner / Kaihautu

Michael Powles
Commissioner / Kaihautu