Ms Paula Tesoriero MNZM is the Chief Executive of Whaikaha - Ministry of Disabled People.
Paula is responsible for providing strategic leadership to Whaikaha and across the system to achieve better outcomes for disabled people in New Zealand.
Paula is well-known and a respected leader in the disability community. She is disabled and has a deep knowledge of the challenges and opportunities for the disability community.
Paula was previously the Disability Rights Commissioner at the Human Rights Commission, a position she held since 2017. She also acted in the role of Chief Human Rights Commissioner from May 2018 – January 2019.
Paula is an experienced Public Service leader. From 2010 – 2016, she was the General Manager, Higher Courts at the Ministry of Justice. In 2016, she was seconded to Statistics New Zealand where she was the General Manager, System and Partnership.
Paula has served in various governance roles including as Deputy Chair of Peke Waihanga — Artificial Limb Service and Deputy Chair of Nuku Ora (previously Sport Wellington) and she served on the Board of Paralympics NZ. She is a life trustee of the Halberg Disability Sport Foundation and is an honorary advisor to the Asia New Zealand Foundation.
Paula is a Paralympian, winning a gold medal and two bronze medals at the 2008 Summer Paralympic Games in Beijing.