The Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State Care and Faith-based Institutions was tasked with looking into what happened to children, young people, and vulnerable adults in State Care and Faith-based Institutions from 1950 - 1999. 

Struggling with cohesion and integration of management systems in its early days, The Royal Commission sought our expertise to apprehend the boundaries between independent divisions (silos). 


The Royal Commission had established a vision for the inquiry to ensure the outcome was as transformative as possible. Due to the nature of its work programme, several external stakeholders and institutions were involved, bringing different values and, therefore, complexity.

What was initially lacking was a singular, comprehensive approach to the task. Instead, due to its infancy and time pressures, divisional leads were driving specific workstreams, independent values, and bodies of work from silos. Unity was required for these numerous workstreams to transform into a more cohesive programme that would bring them closer to their end goals.


Looking beyond individual business segments, we focused on the sum of the pieces to better interpret and optimise the integration process. 

While delivering constructive programme management, we built an understanding of the different groups and, consequently, the individual challenges involved. This assessment allowed us to create a clear, structured programme conclusion and synthesise the found information to scope out opportunities. From there, we developed respective deliverables and relationships with various directorial leads where needed.

By collecting essential details about the respective directorates, we could position The Royal Commission's framework in a strategic layout. This solution also allowed consolidation with Commissioners and the Executive Leadership team to improve identification and mitigation of programme opportunities, risks, tensions, and resource duplication. 


We successfully planned a two week inaugural contextual hearing in Auckland, where 29 witnesses set the scene of the inquiry's mandate through sharing their individual experiences of abuse in the system and catalysed further exploration of the inquiry.

In preparation for this hearing, we also integrated the preparatory work of the Commissioners, Counsel, and Secretariat to provide progress updates and assurance to the Executive Director, Queen's Counsel, and Commissioners. 

In response, the crown acknowledged that making improvements to the institutions and systems is an ongoing process and that more action is required. The crown welcomes the Royal Commission’s findings which will contribute to positive change and greater care for the vulnerable.

Noting the success of the contextual hearing, the Chair and Commissioners acknowledged the strong leadership and direction provided by Deep Waters Consulting Director, Giselle Wansa-Harvey:

"I wanted to...acknowledge your remarkable skills at managing people and this event, both of which were called upon a great deal in the course of the fortnight. You were connected with both people and their sensitivities, as well as technology and logistical arrangements. I think that I convey the thanks of all the Commissioners for your warm-hearted and ready attention to detail throughout.” - Sir Anand Satyanand, Chair of the Royal Commission of Inquiry.

In additional programme results, we integrated the secretariat work programme by redefining the existing business silos. By creating this internal syndication, developing new organisational design possibilities, and some contrivance, we successfully strengthened The Royal Commissions inquiry process through our agile and responsive programme management leadership.


With great success, we planned a two week contextual hearing in Auckland. During the hearing, 29 witnesses stood to share their individual experiences of abuse in the system and catalysed further exploration of the inquiry. 

In response, the crown expressed, “Caring for children and vulnerable adults is a vital and valued responsibility...Our country needs a thorough and open investigation to help bring failings to light. It is important to hear from those who were wronged, to learn from what they say, and to make the changes needed for New Zealand’s care system to be stronger and safer for everyone.”

In addition to driving the hearing to success, we achieved an effective merger between directorates, establishing a more united work programme view. Our functional expertise brought structure and clarity to the complex work programme, synchronising work teams and integrating systems to provide measurable success and coherence.