The Human Rights Foundation promotes and defends human rights in Aotearoa New Zealand and abroad, through research-based education and advocacy. We are an independent non-governmental organisation established in December 2001.

We promote and defend human rights, by:

  • making submissions on new laws with human rights implications
  • monitoring New Zealand’s compliance and implementation of our international obligations under the international conventions our government has signed
  • preparing shadow reports for relevant United Nations treaty bodies to be considered alongside official reports
  • providing educational events and resources for the New Zealand public on topical human rights issues
Dame Silvia Cartwright
The Foundation’s patron, Dame Silvia Cartwright

Our primary focus is on human rights in New Zealand. However, we recognise that human rights are universal. Therefore, we maintain an interest in human rights in the Pacific and beyond.

We are a registered charity (CC22917). Among other things, this means your donations are tax deductible.

Former Governor General and High Court Judge, Dame Silvia Cartwright, is our Patron.

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Management Committee

Maria Humphries-KilCo-Chair

Maria Humphries-Kil (PhD, 1996) was an inaugural member of the HRF and served on the committee for some years. She rejoined the committee in 2020. Maria was an Associate Professor in the Waikato Management School until 2016. Her interests include the consideration of the value of human rights aspects in management education and practice. She currently serves as Chair of the Research Ethics Committee, UNITEC, reviews for management education journals, and continues with PhD supervision and co-author with current and past PhDs on related subjects.

Clive AspinCo-Chair

Oliver Hoffman Treasurer 

Oliver Hoffman

Oliver Hoffmann joined the Human Rights Foundation in the early 2000s but only became actively involved from 2011 onwards. With a background in mathematics and computer programming he helps out with the administrative side of the orga­nisation, handling the finances and membership.

As the son of refugee parents he has always been a strong advocate for refugee rights. In fact, after gaining an M Sc from the University of Auckland, Oliver visited the land of his parents and completed postgraduate studies with a computer model of a hydromechanical problem. He stayed on in West Berlin where he was active in the local antifascist organisation. He rounded out his overseas experiences in 1986 with the publication of a book on Nazi terror and resistance in West Berlin’s central key suburb of Tiergarten.

Oliver has worked as a computer programmer, systems analyst, and polytechnic tutor (at Manukau Institute of Technology). He spent three years at a university computer centre in northern Nigeria where he became the Acting Director. In Auckland he ran his own bridge club for over ten years, writing then as now regular bridge articles; he has represented New Zealand in international bridge competition.

Oliver is spending his retirement years pursuing three passions: mentoring bridge online, contributing to conservation in Auckland by tackling invasive plants, and working on online educational projects to ensure that the Holocaust is never forgotten (for example Worldupsidedown – currently inactive – and the Jewish Online Museum). He is also a member of the Auckland Second Generation oral history group and the Family Perspectives Group of the Auckland District Health Board.

Margaret Bedggood CNZM | margaret.bedggood@xtra.co.nz


Professor Margaret Bedggood was made a Companion of the NZ Order of Merit in the New Year Honours for services to human rights law. Still on our management committee, Margaret was our first chairperson (2001 – 2008) and before that was chief commissioner of the Human Rights Commission (1989-1994) and dean of the University of Waikato School of Law (1994-95) where she remains an Honorary Professor of Law. She was previously awarded Companion of the Queen’s Service Order (1993).

Margaret has an MA (NZ and London), an LLB (Otago) and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Waikato. She has been a member of Amnesty International since 1968, was previously Chair of the New Zealand section and was a member of AI’s governing body, the International Executive Committee, from 1999 to 2005.

She has taught in a variety of institutions and jurisdictions and has published in tort, employment law and human rights. She is a Visiting Fellow at Kellogg College, Oxford, and a member of the Faculty of a Masters’ Programme at the University of Oxford on International Human Rights Law.

She has been a member of the NZ Refugee Council and of the Peace Foundation Council and is a member of the Aotearoa New Zealand Peace and Conflict Studies Centre Trust, which helped to establish the Centre at the University of Otago in 2009. She co-edited the Human Rights Foundation’s publication Law into Action: Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Aotearoa New Zealand, (Thomson Reuters, 2011) and more recently co-edited International Human Rights Law in Aotearoa New Zealand, also published by Thomson Reuters (2018).

Margaret Lewis


Margaret Lewis is an Auckland Barrister and member of Southern Cross Chambers specialising in civil litigation including Employment law, Relationship Property and Trusts. She holds Bachelor degrees from the University of Auckland, in Arts (psychology) and Law. Margaret also practices as a Mediator holding accreditation with LEADR New Zealand.

Margaret`s professional activities include membership of: LEADR panel of Mediators; Member Institute of Directors with an interest in not for profit organisations; voluntary consultations on referral from the Auckland Community Law Centre; and serving on various sub-committees of the Auckland District Law Society which have included Public Issues, Continuing Education, Employment and currently, Court Liason.

Margaret has been actively involved in the human rights field since the 1980s as a former President and Chairperson of the Auckland Council for Civil Liberties Inc; as a contributing author to the New Zealand Civil Rights Handbook (2001 and 2010) on employment law; as a member of a Ministry of Justice, Public law Consultative group; and as an invited speaker at conferences such as the Privacy Commissioner`s Conference, on DNA profiling and the Legal Research Foundation Conference, on home detention of sentenced prisoners. She also served as a member of the University of Auckland (Human Participants) Ethics Committee (UAHPEC) established to review and approve applications for non-medical research involving human participants.

Deborah Manning

Deborah Manning

Deborah Manning is a barrister specialising in human rights law including refugee and immigration law. From 2008-2011, she was a senior legal consultant to a Geneva-based human rights organisation which represents victims of grave human rights violations in the Arab region.

She was co-counsel for the Algerian refugee Ahmed Zaoui, successfully representing him in the review of the first national security risk certificate issued in New Zealand from 2003-2007. This was a landmark case which saw successful applications and appeals before the High Court, Court of Appeal, and Supreme Court with Rodney Harrison QC as lead counsel.

Deborah is an Executive Member of the Refugee Council of New Zealand from 2000. She was the inaugural convener of the Auckland District Law Society Refugee and Immigration Committee from 2001-2006 and is currently a member of this committee.

Deborah currently practices as a barrister at Landmark Chambers in Auckland.

Ced Simpson | ced@article28.org.nz


Ced Simpson works in human rights promotion, education and facilitation, including assisting organisations adopt a human rights approach to professional policy and practice. He is the director of the Human Rights in Education Trust, supporting a broad collaborative initiative to develop New Zealand schools and early childhood education centres as ‘communities that know, promote and live human rights and responsibilities’, and has worked with agencies on implementation of a human rights approach to international development cooperation.

For over twenty years he held senior leadership positions in Amnesty International in New Zealand, Australia, and at the international level, with responsibilities for human rights promotion, campaigning and organisational development. He was a member of the New Zealand Human Rights Commission’s Advisory Council for the national Action Plan for Human Rights, and is Chair of Wilford School Board of Trustees. He is a Life Member of the Foundation.

Maithili Sreen

Maithili Sreen

Maithili Sreen is a Law Hons and Arts graduate from the University of Auckland, and Barrister and Solicitor  of the High Court of New Zealand, admitted September 2013. She has been working in Refugee and Immigration Law since 2012, when I started as an intern with (committee member) Deborah Manning. She now works as a junior Barrister with Deborah in Landmark Chambers.

Maithili is passionate about refugee law and aims to expand my scope into criminal and family law. She is also a member of the Rotaract Club of Pakuranga (District 9920).

David Tong | david@humanrights.co.nz


David is a Senior Campaigner at Oil Change International. Previously, he coordinated WWF-New Zealand’s climate programme. He has extensive experience in and around the international climate change negotiations.

From 2014-2015, he was a community lawyer at the Auckland Community Law Centre. He has an LLM with first class honours in climate and human rights law.

Previously, he worked as a litigation solicitor at Minter Ellison Rudd Watts from 2011 until June 2013.  He worked from 2009-2010 as a judges’ clerk at the Auckland High Court.

Geraldine Whiteford

Geraldine (1)

Geraldine Whiteford is a lawyer specialising in family, civil and employment litigation. She became a lawyer in her early 50s, after working many years in the Human Rights Commission’s complaints resolution team. She has worked as a volunteer in a wide range of community groups including in Nicaragua in the 1980s.

Geraldine has a deep interest and involvement in women’s issues and is currently a Trustee of Auckland Sexual Abuse HELP.

Simon Lamain

Life Members

If you want to give extra support to the Foundation, you can become a Life Member. The Life Membership Fee for individuals is $500 and for corporate bodies is $2,000.

You can use our online membership application form to become a Life Member.

Our current Life Members are:

  • Margaret Bedggood
  • Susan Elliott
  • Kathy Ertel
  • Oliver Hoffmann
  • Peter Hosking
  • Judith McMorland
  • Deborah Manning
  • Hayden Montgomerie
  • Ced Simpson
  • Blair Stewart
  • Geraldine Whiteford
  • Maria Humphries-Kil
  • David Tong

We sincerely appreciate their generous support.