Meet the Families Commissioner and Board

We are governed by a commissioner and a board which is appointed by the Minister responsible for Superu, currently the Associate Minister for Social Development. The Board's role includes overseeing the governance and performance of Superu, and setting the strategic direction and priorities of Superu. Members also provide expertise, advice and input into issues and work Superu is considering or undertaking. Each appointment is for up to three years with the potential for reappointment.

Len Cook, Families Commissioner

Len was the National Statistician of the United Kingdom from 2000 to 2005 and the Government Statistician of New Zealand from 1992 to 2000. Prior to this, Len worked in various roles at Statistics New Zealand from 1971, becoming Deputy Government Statistician in 1986. He was a member of the Royal Commission on Social Policy in 1987-88.

He is a member of Superu's Social Science Experts Panel and Chair of the advisory board of the Institute for Governance and Social Policy at Victoria University of Wellington. Len is a member of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Board, and has served on a wide variety of boards over the years. 

Len's prime interests include public administration, population change and public policy, official statistics and the place of science in policy.

His main focus in recent years involves working with official statistical offices in the Pacific, Superu and the Tuaropaki Trust.

Len was appointed Families Commissioner in July 2015.

View Len's blog here:

Professor Sir Peter Gluckman ONZ, Board Member

Professor Sir Peter Gluckman is the Chief Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of New Zealand, a position which he has held since it was established in 2009.

 He is also Science Envoy within the NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Chair of the International Network for Government Science Advice ( and standing Co-Chair of the APEC Network of Chief Science Advisors and Equivalents. In these roles, he is internationally respected for his work promoting the use of evidence in public policy formation.

Sir Peter also coordinates the international Small Advanced Economies Initiative, for which New Zealand provides the secretariat.  This initiative is a platform for policy research and dialogue on the unique issues in small economy science and innovation systems globally.

As one of New Zealand’s best known biomedical scientists, Sir Peter’s contributions to developmental, endocrine and evolutionary sciences have won him numerous awards and international recognition including Fellowship of the Commonwealth's most prestigious scientific organisation, the Royal Society (London).

He is a member of the Order of New Zealand, which is the country’s highest civic honour and limited to only 20 living New Zealanders, and is the only New Zealander elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science (USA) and the Academy of Medical Sciences of Great Britain.

He is the author of over 650 scientific papers and reviews, and author of both technical and popular science books. He holds a University Distinguished Professorship at the Liggins Institute of the University of Auckland.

Dame Tariana Turia DNZM, Board Member

Hon Dame Tariana Turia was a New Zealand MP from 1996 to 2014. She has been Minister for Whanau Ora, Disability Issues, and the Community and Voluntary Sector. She has also been Associate Minister in Health, Maori Affairs, Social Development, Child, Young and Family, Housing, Corrections, Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment.

Dame Tariana - Ngati Apa, Nga Wairiki, Nga Rauru, Tuwharetoa and Whanganui - has been a champion of rangatiratanga (self-determination) for Maori as well as advocating strongly for disabled people and Pacific communities. Before entering politics, Dame Turiana was the Chief Executive of Te Oranganui Iwi Health Authority, the largest Maori health service provider in the central region.

Dame Tariana was co-leader of the Maori Party from its inception in 2004 until November 2014. She was deputy chair of the Ministerial Committee on Poverty, which invested over $65m in addressing and preventing rheumatic fever. It also extended home insulation for low income families and supported free doctors’ visits and medicine for children up to the age of 13.

Two of her greatest achievements are in Whanau Ora and tobacco reform. Dame Tariana received the Tu Rangatira mo te Ora award from the New Zealand Public Health Association in 2010 for her work in Maori public health and the Luther L Terry Award for Exemplary Leadership in Tobacco Control from the American Cancer Society in 2015.

Dame Tariana is the Patron of the Whanganui YWCA and the Weightloss Surgery Trust, Chair of the Parihaka Settlement Trust, a mentor for ABI Rehabilitation New Zealand and a life member of CCS Disability Action

Jo-anne Wilkinson MNZM LLB, Board Member

Jo-anne is the co-founder and recently retired Executive Director of the Foundation for Youth Development (formerly Project K Trust). The organisation began in 1995 and has grown today to reach 18,000 young people each year through its programmes: Project K, Stars, Kiwi Can, Career Navigator and MYND. 

Jo-anne managed the National Office team of 20 and was responsible for the network of 17 licensees (similar to a franchise) around the country. Jo-anne remains on the Foundation for Youth Development board. 

With her legal background and through building the Foundation, Jo-anne has gained experience in licensing, research and evaluation, community development, programme development, quality assurance, governance and the interface between government, business and the social sector. 

Jo-anne also works as a consultant specialising in mentoring, change management, governance and corporate social responsibility.

Haami Piripi, Board Member

Haami - Te Rawara, Ngapuhi and Ngati Kuri - has spearheaded key Maori development projects in the public sector and served as Chief Executive of the Maori Language Commission. Haami is now the Chairperson of Runanga o Te Rawara, where he is also a negotiator of Treaty claims.

Haami is an inaugural member of the Hiku o Te Ika Social Wellbeing and Development Accord which monitors the delivery of social services in the Far North by 16 statutory agencies. He is also a member of Make It Happen Community Trust which is leading a new and innovative initiative with the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) to generate new educational and vocational pathways for youth. 

Haami is an active participant in the Regional and National Iwi Chair Forum where he chairs the Education and Social Sector Iwi Leaders Working Group. He is a leading advocate for the Etu Whanau initiative to address family violence, which was recently adopted as a national programme by MSD. 

Haami is a member of the Social Wellbeing Governance Group (Northland) which has been addressing the issue of youth suicide for the past three years and is now investigating vulnerable families. This role includes governance oversight of the new Children's Team pilot.

He has been engaged by the Minister of Education in the Cross Sectoral Forum on Raising Achievement Standards and is a member of the Ministerial Working Group on the roll-out of ultrafast broadband to New Zealand communities

Last update: 18 Jun 2018