Commissioner C'Zarke Maza

Mr C’Zarke Maza, Commissioner (Meriba Omasker Kaziw Kazipa)

Mr C’Zarke Maza LL.M is a descendant of the Meriam people of Mer (Murray Island) in the Torres Strait Islands and Yidinjdji people from the coast of Cairns and commenced duties as the inaugural Commissioner (Meriba Omasker Kaziw Kazipa) in July 2021.

C’Zarke works to bring world-first, historic, legal recognition of Torres Strait Island traditional child rearing practices and taking the next step towards healing the community through culturally appropriate laws for First Nations people.

C’Zarke comes from a humble background, his life and that of his family, epitomises the strength to succeed as a First Nations person. He is the proud son of the late Bob Maza AM and brother of Dr Rachael Maza AM, both who were awarded with an Order of Australia (AM) and who are renowned actors, activists, playwrights and directors and have been instrumental in changing the way Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are portrayed in the media.

C’Zarke takes up the Office of Commissioner (Meriba Omasker Kaziw Kazipa) after 10 years with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service (ATSILS) where he served as the Regional Manager and Legal Practitioner on Thursday Island. As the Regional Manager, C’Zarke was instrumental in establishing an ATSILS regional office on Thursday Island and a satellite office in Bamaga to provide professional and culturally competent legal services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Torres Strait Islands and the Northern Peninsula Area. Further, in that period C’Zarke successfully developed collaborative partnerships in the Torres Strait Islands and the Northern Peninsula Area with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, key government and non-government stakeholders to influence positive change and deliver high quality legal services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people within or exposed to the justice system.

Further, C’Zarke was first admitted as a solicitor and barrister in 2002 and has extensive experience in law, advocating for, and engaging with, Torres Strait Islander people. As a Torres Strait Islander person, C’Zarke brings with him a deep and inherent understanding of the diversity and sensitivity of traditional child rearing practice.

With a deep commitment to driving policy, programs and services to improve the lives of the First Nations people of Australia, C’Zarke is fiercely committed to working with the Department of Seniors, Disability Services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, the Meriba Omasker Kaziw Kazipa Advisory Group, stakeholders and communities to lead the implementation of a historical, world first legislation that will recognise and make a Torres Strait Islander cultural practice of traditional child-rearing practice into Queensland law. His extensive professional experience and ability to effectively engage with the Torres Strait Islander community (within Queensland and interstate), the broader Queensland community, government and non-government stakeholders will be key attributes for the Office.