The Panel

The Panel

Role of the Panel

The role of the Panel was to listen, facilitate and record New Zealanders’ views on constitutional issues; it reported back to government at the end of 2013.

The Panel was responsible for:

  • Informing the public of current constitutional arrangements, ensuring the information provided is balanced and clear.
  • Seeking the views of as many people as possible.
  • Reporting to the Government with advice, including any points of broad consensus where further work is recommended.

The Engagement Strategy

The Panel took a staged approach to ensure they heard from as many New Zealanders as possible:

  • Stage 1 Whakaoho i te tangata/Preparing the ground: Focuses on developing the tools and relationships necessary for successful engagement.
  • Stage 2 Whakamārama/Understanding: Starts to build understanding about our current constitutional arrangements and build participation in the constitutional conversation.
  • Stage 3 Wānanga/Thinking together: Engaging with a broad and diverse range of networks and communities and encouraging those networks to feed those views to us through the website and face-to-face meetings.
  • Stage 4 Wānanga/Deliberation: Conversations will include wānanga/deliberative fora whose members will be selected from a range of groups. These wānanga/deliberative fora will consider the views of New Zealanders gathered in stage three.
  • Stage 5 Whakapūrongo/Reporting: We will present a final report to the responsible ministers by the end of 2013.

The focus of stage one was on early conversations with community networks, academic institutions, iwi and hapū. The focus for stages two and three was to ensure all New Zealanders had a range of opportunities to participate in the constitutional conversation and through a range of media.

You can download the full Engagement Strategy in Adobe Acrobat (.PDF) format, or Microsoft Word (.DOCX) format.

The Longer Conversation

The Panel’s key recommendation was that the Government actively support a continuing conversation about the constitution by ensuring people can find out more about the current arrangements and about options for our future.

Panel Profiles

Emeritus Professor John Burrows QC (Co-chair)

Professor Burrows, who has just completed a term as a Law Commissioner, has led or jointly led several Law Commission reviews including the Presentation of New Zealand Statute Law, Privacy, the Official Information Act 1982 and Tribunals in New Zealand. He has extensive legal experience and is the author of the leading text Statute Law in New Zealand.

A law lecturer for many years, Professor Burrows is a well-known commentator on New Zealand’s legal system. He enjoys presenting legal topics to both lawyers and the general public.

Sir Tipene O’Regan (Co-chair) (Ngāi Tahu)

Perhaps best known for leading the negotiations for two of the largest Treaty settlements (Māori Fisheries and Ngāi Tahu), Sir Tipene O’Regan also has extensive governance and commercial experience. He was deputy chairperson of Transit NZ, a director of TVNZ, chairperson of Sealord and has served on boards in England, Norway and Australia.

He holds two honorary doctorates in commerce and one in literature. He was the assistant Vice-Chancellor at the University of Canterbury and is currently chairperson of New Zealand’s Indigenous Centre of Research Excellence. With an insatiable appetite for knowledge and strategic development, Sir Tipene is a sought-after public speaker.

Sir Tipene brings more than 40 years of governance to the Co-chair’s role and visionary leadership.

Peter Chin

Peter Chin is a first generation, New Zealand-born Chinese and lived all his life in Dunedin. He served as a city councillor for 15 years including six years as mayor. Mr Chin practised law for more than 45 years and has been actively involved in the community including the performing arts; education, community welfare, Rotary and the Chinese community. He formerly chaired the Gambling Commission, and currently serves as a trustee of Asia New Zealand Foundation and the Chinese Poll Tax Heritage Trust.

Mr Chin’s New Zealand heritage and work with the Chinese community introduces an understanding of the cultural diversity of New Zealand to the Panel.

Deborah Coddington

Deborah Coddington who is based in the Wairarapa has a long-established journalism career, including feature writing for North & South and Metro magazines. Education and child abuse are issues that capture her attention as well as finance and business. As a journalist Ms Coddington is a generalist with a broad knowledge of New Zealanders. She gained political experience serving as a list MP, learning the mechanics of government and representing individuals’ needs and concerns.

Understanding how to connect with a reader in plain language, enables Ms Coddington to bring to the Panel an ability to engage everyday New Zealanders in the constitutional review.

Hon Sir Michael Cullen

Sir Michael is currently the chair of New Zealand Post and principal Treaty Claims negotiator for Ngāti Tūwharetoa. As a long-serving member of Parliament, including Deputy Prime Minister, Attorney-General, Minister in Charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, Minister of Finance and Leader of the House – Sir Michael has an intimate knowledge of how the machinery of government operates.

His extensive experience as a politician brings practical knowledge of constitutional matters to the Panel’s work.

Hon John Luxton

Mr Luxton, a former Minister and electorate MP, is currently a farmer, company director and consultant. He has expertise in government, governance, Crown-Māori relations and community connections. Mr Luxton has experience in co-management, as co-chair of the Waikato River Authority and representing farming, as chairman of DairyNZ, and other interests alongside Māori interests.

With a practical and pragmatic background in business and government, Mr Luxton sees a need to ensure New Zealand has a shared vision for the future with democratic principles at the heart of that vision.

Bernice Mene

Bernice Mene is a qualified secondary school teacher and represented New Zealand at an OECD education forum as a guardian for the Secondary Futures Education project. Other work encompasses career counselling for tertiary students and elite athletes and project management for sporting organisations. Ms Mene received a MNZM for services to netball, having played ten years for the Silver Ferns and working within the media, public speaking, and television presenting as well as governance work for community groups.

Ms Mene’s passion and work centre on young people, education and health, and her strong public profile connects her with many different communities.

Dr Leonie Pihama (Te Ātiawa, Ngā Māhanga a Tairi, Ngāti Māhanga)

Dr Leonie Pihama is a mother of six and a grandmother of two. Dr Pihama is currently an Associate Professor and the Director of Te Kotahi Research Institute at the University of Waikato. She has worked as a senior lecturer in Education at the University of Auckland, teaching in the fields of policy analysis, Māori women’s issues, and the politics of representation of indigenous peoples. Dr Pihama served on Māori Television’s establishment board and worked in film and media production. She completed a Fulbright scholarship with the University of Washington.

Dr Pihama’s expertise connects her with a wide-range of communities and iwi, which enables her to relate to people throughout Aotearoa New Zealand.

Hinurewa Poutu (Ngāti Rangi, Te Āti Haunui a Pāpārangi, Ngāti Maniapoto)

Hinurewa Poutu is a doctoral student at Massey University and a teacher at Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Mana Tamariki. She is a graduate of kura kaupapa Māori, with an academic and work record in studying, researching and teaching te reo Māori. She taught media studies in Māori while working as a presenter and Māori language consultant on various television projects. The content focused on children, youth, sport and cultural diversity.

As the youngest member Ms Poutu adds a youthful, vibrant and bicultural perspective to the Panel.

Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith (Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Porou)

Linda Tuhiwai Smith is Professor of Education and Māori Development and Pro-Vice Chancellor Māori at the University of Waikato. Her academic work focusses on education and health, as well as kaupapa Māori research. Professor Smith has published widely in journals and books, including writing Decolonising Methodologies Research and Indigenous Peoples.

She was a joint director of Ngā Pae o Te Maramatanga, New Zealand’s Māori Centre of Research Excellence and a Professor of Education at the University of Auckland.

Professor Smith’s confidence in the power of young people and their aspirations, and her negotiating experience will engage communities and help them see the benefits of participation.

Peter Tennent (Te Aupōuri)

Peter Tennent is a former mayor of New Plymouth and encourages community involvement and public engagement. He was nominated for World Mayor in 2010 and judged to be in the top ten world community leaders. Mr Tennent was pivotal in rejuvenating New Plymouth economically, socially, environmentally and culturally – negotiating with all parties to find a pathway forward from significant historical issues. He trained as an accountant at Massey University and spent much of his life as an hotelier and in public roles.

Mr Tennent’s leadership, drive and enthusiasm for New Zealand add positive energy to the Panel.

Dr Ranginui Walker (Te Whakatōhea)

Dr Ranginui Walker was a member of the New Zealand Māori Council and the World Council of Indigenous People. He has written six books, including the best-selling Ka Whawhai Tonu Ake: Struggle Without End. He was professor of Maōri Studies at the University of Auckland and retired as Pro Vice-Chancellor (Māori) in 1997. He has extensive experience as an auditor of tertiary educational organisations for the New Zealand Universities Academic Audit Unit and the New Zealand Qualifications Authority and is currently a member of the Waitangi Tribunal. Dr Walker was awarded the DCNZM in 2000 and received the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement in non-fiction in 2009.

Dr Walker brings to the Panel considerable experience of working with people at all levels of society as well as a deep knowledge of New Zealand and Māori history.