Prudence Walker announced as new Disability Rights Commissioner
The announcement that Prudence Walker is the new Kaihautū Tika Hauātanga Disability Rights Commissioner is great news for the disability sector. Prudence is a a long-time disability advocate and is best known for her work as the chief executive of the Disabled Persons Assembly (DPA) New Zealand.
She is experience working in areas where disability rights intersect with other human rights such as those of young disabled people and disabled migrants and is highly regarded in the disability community.
"We are excited for the Human Rights Commission, disabled people and tāngata whaikaha,” says Te Amokapua Chief Human Rights Commissioner, Paul Hunt. “Prudence is a highly regarded leader in the disability community, and as an advocate for disability rights, she brings in-depth understanding of the barriers facing disabled people.”
The appointment will be for five years starting from 19 June. Walker’s role will be to promote and protect the rights of tāngata whaikaha and disabled New Zealanders. The Disability Rights Commissioner position had been vacant since the departure of Paula Tesoriero who took on the role of chief executive of Whaikaha, Ministry of Disabled People in August 202. Paul Hunt thanked Saunoamaali'i Dr Karanina Sumeo, Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner, for her work as acting Disability Rights Commissioner during the vacancy period.
Before her current role, Prudence spent 11 years working for CCS Disability Action in a variety of roles, predominantly to do with disability leadership and rights. Prudence holds diplomas in human resource management and hospitality management, as well as certificates in te Reo Māori. She recently attended the Pacific Regional Conference on Disability representing the DPA and its members.