Our People

The Survivor Experiences Service team come from diverse backgrounds with knowledge and understanding of abuse in care.

The Survivor Experiences Service team

The Survivor Experiences Service team

Executive Director

Karl McDiarmid

Before joining the Service, I spent 3 years at the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse as part of the leadership team. Over that time, I attended and supported most of the public hearings and engaged with a number of survivors of abuse in care. I also worked with many of the teams who engaged with survivors as part of the Inquiry to help ensure the Commission was doing so safely and securely for survivors. When the opportunity came up to establish the Survivor Experiences Service, I really wanted to be able to take my learnings from the Commission and work with the Board to build a Service that puts the survivor at the centre of everything we do.


Karl manages four teams in the Survivor Experiences Service consisting of:

  • Contact and Support Centre
  • Private Sessions
  • Engagement and Communications 
  • Planning and Reporting

For Survivors

We have a large and diverse team who will support you through your journey of healing. We have:

  • contact and support centre staff - these are the people you will interact with when you first contact the Service, on the phone, via text or post.
  • private session facilitators - these are people who will organise your private session and will be in the room when you share your experience - they make sure everything runs smoothly. 
  • Kaitakawaenga - this is a person who leads the private session and who you will directly share your experience with. 
  • wellbeing/oranga support contractors - these are people who will help support you with anything you need for your wellbeing before, during and after the private session.

Our team will help guide you through the process in a way that works for you. Our staff are highly trained, compassionate and flexible in meeting your needs.

Community Engagement

We also have staff who travel around the country to meet with different communities, organizations and people to raise awareness of the service and gather insights about what the Service should look like.

We have Māori, Pacific, Deaf, Disabled, LGBTTIQ+, Rangatahi and incarcerated engagement staff.

If you are interested in meeting with our any of our engagement staff, please send us an email: engagement@survivorexperiences.govt.nz