Former Maori Party co-leader Dame Tariana Turia has been appointed to the Families Commission board.

The commission rebranded late last year and is now known as the Social Policy Evaluation and Research Unit, or Superu for short.

The organisation is tasked with monitoring, evaluating and researching to improve the lives of New Zealand families and communities, and it also funds services including the NZ Family Violence Clearinghouse.

Associate Social Development Minister Jo Goodhew announced Dame Tariana's appointment to the board, as well as Len Cook.

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Mr Cook has acted as an expert advisor to the Superu Board since 2013, and is a specialist in the use of statistics and social science research.

During her time in Parliament, Dame Tariana held roles including Minister responsible for Whanau Ora.

"Superu received approximately $9 million in Crown funding in 2014/2015 to improve New Zealand's social research infrastructure, and to ensure that there is an increased use of evidence to support robust social policy," Ms Goodhew said.