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Ara/NZ Broadcasting School – Investigation Update

Ara has confirmed that the team to undertake the investigation announced in September as a result of allegations in the NZ Herald will be led by Richard Raymond QC from Canterbury Chambers (see short bio below). Richard will be supported by Chamber colleagues Anne Toohey, Cecil Hanafin and Christina Twyman.

The Terms of Reference for the investigation are available below.

Outcomes from the investigation will be made public once the process is complete.

For further queries please contact Jas Cannon, Executive Director People and Culture, on

Bio Richard Raymond QC

Richard graduated with a BCom LLB from the University of Otago in 1988. He then worked in commercial litigation in leading Wellington and London firms before returning to New Zealand and the Crown Solicitor’s Office in Christchurch in 1993. He was appointed Senior Crown Counsel and was an Associate of the firm.

In 1997 Richard joined the litigation team at Duncan Cotterill and became a partner in 1998. He jointly led a large team of litigators and built a significant commercial and insurance litigation practice. He was on the firm’s Board for several years and served as Chairman before joining the independent bar in 2011.

Richard was appointed Queen’s Counsel in June 2016. He has been involved in numerous inquiries and cases on a range of complex issues throughout New Zealand.








1. The purpose is for the Ara Institute of Canterbury Limited (Ara) to engage an independent person Richard Raymond QC (Investigator) to conduct an independent investigation and review (Investigation and Review) in relation to allegations of bullying and harassment at the New Zealand Broadcasting School (School).


2. On 18 September 2021 the New Zealand Herald published an article about the School and an alleged incident that had caused concern and anxiety for Ara’s learners.

3. Ara received an email from the New Zealand Herald on 27 September 2021, which raised several concerns from former learners in relation to “multiple alleged issues” that the learners say they experienced during their time at the School.

4. The allegations included bullying and harassment and the making of sexist and racist comments.

5. Allegations of this nature are serious.  Ara does not accept bullying or any kind of harassment and is committed to the wellbeing of its learners and staff members.  Accordingly, the Chief Executive with the full support of the Ara Board, has appointed Richard Raymond QC to conduct the Investigation and Review.

Scope of Investigation and Review

The Investigator is to:

6. Receive any information available, including from former or current learners and former or current staff members of the School or staff members of Ara, in respect of concerns or allegations from learners that were enrolled at the School in the period from February 2019 to October 2021, relating to:

(a) bullying;

(b) harassment (including sexual and racial harassment);

(c) discrimination;  and

(d) the making of sexist, racist or any inappropriate comments.

7. Assess Ara’s current workplace policies, practices, standards and systems related to harassment and/or bullying against best practice models in New Zealand and other obligations (including to provide a safe, inclusive and equitable learning environment for learners) under current relevant legislation.

8. Consider Ara’s investigation and resolution mechanisms regarding harassment and bullying to assess whether they are appropriate within the School.

9. Identify whether the support, information and mechanisms for complaints about bullying and harassment matters are accessible, properly understood and effectively applied across the School.

10. Make factual findings (if appropriate) and recommendations in relation to the allegations set out in paragraph six above, recommendations about the matters set out in paragraphs seven to nine above, reviewed against Ara’s policies, which will be provided to the Investigator.

11. If, during the course of the Investigation and Review, other matters emerge which the Investigator believes require separate investigation or consideration, the Investigator will consult with the Chief Executive about the appropriate course of action.  At that point, and if there is a need for it, the Terms of Reference may need to be revised to include a broader scope.

12. Following the interview of any participants, where the Investigator considers necessary, the Investigator may invite any person to respond to allegations or concerns raised, where this will assist the Investigator to understand the context of the allegations and obtain a balance of views.  This will only be done if the complainant is prepared to put their name and details of the allegations on the record.

13. The Investigator will not make factual findings in relation to any particular employee's employment.  If there are allegations made to the Investigator that indicate the need for a separate employment investigation related to any current employee or contractor, with the consent of the disclosing person only, the Investigator will refer the matter to the Executive Director, People and Culture.


Process for the Investigation and Review

14. Ara and the School will provide the Investigator with any information or evidence relevant to the Investigation and Review or that the Investigator may request.

15. The Investigator may interview current and former learners and staff of the School, Ara, and, if determined relevant by the Investigator, other parties who wish to provide evidence and information.

16. When interviewing participants the Investigator will request information and details from the participants to enable the Investigator to understand the context and background as to how any concerns or allegations have arisen. 

17. The privacy of the participants is important and the following steps will be undertaken to maintain privacy:

(a) an independent contact email and other mechanisms to contact the Investigator that preserve confidentiality will be established;

(b) the email inbox will be accessible only by those undertaking the Investigation;

(c) interviews may be audio recorded and transcribed and copies will be retained in a secure database under the sole control of the Investigator;

(d) notes taken during the interviews will be private and confidential, so far as the law allows and except as between the Investigator and the interviewee, who may receive a copy of the notes of the interview, if requested.  The Investigator may use the information provided in the interview either anonymously, or, with consent, using the name of the interviewee; and

(e) the Investigation and Review will be conducted in a manner consistent with the principles of natural justice and information protection.

18. Richard Raymond QC will conduct the Investigation and Review (and provide a draft report to the Chief Executive and the Ara Board) over the next four months, or as soon as practicable thereafter, with factual findings, outcomes and recommendations.  Ara intends to publish the outcomes of the investigation, so the final report should not identify any individuals by name, except where they have given their consent, and the report should not contain information which would allow any individual to be identified, without their consent.

19. The final report will be provided to the Chief Executive who will determine, in consultation with the Ara Board, the communication of the outcomes of the Investigation and Review to affected and interested parties. 

These Terms of Reference are approved and signed by:


Darren Mitchell

Chief Executive (Acting)

Ara Institute of Canterbury Limited