People are being invited to make submissions as the Royal Commission of Inquiry into historical abuse in state care gets underway.

The public is being welcomed to submit on the draft terms of reference for the inquiry, which will focus on the victims, including any systemic bias based on race, gender or sexual orientation.

READ MORE: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern unveils inquiry into state care abuse

The inquiry is expected to cost $12 million in its first year. The draft terms of reference state that the inquiry will:

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• Look at physical, sexual and emotional abuse and neglect.

• Look at bias against Maori but also based on gender or sexual orientation, and against those with disabilities or mental health issues.​

• Consider the nature and extent of abuse, immediate and long-term impacts, the factors (including systemic factors) that contributed, and lessons to be learned.

• Cover a period of 1950 to 1999 - though this can be broadened

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister for Children Tracey Martin announced details of the inquiry last month.

It is being chaired by former Governor-General Sir Anand Satyanand and has the aim of reporting back by the end of the parliamentary term.

Sir Satyanand says the legacy of people taken into state care who suffered neglect and abuse is a stain on New Zealand's history.

"A majority of people who have been in state care are Māori and Pasifika. While some people benefited, many did not and suffered abuse and neglect. The Human Rights Commission and the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination called for this matter to be the subject of an independent inquiry. The Government has accepted the task."

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The Royal Commission is now receiving submissions on the draft terms of reference. Submissions can be made by emailing abuseinstatecare@royalcommission.govt.nz, posting to PO Box 10071, The Terrace, Wellington 6143, or free phoning 0800 222 727 after 8.30am next Tuesday.

Submitters should state if they want their submissions to be confidential.

"I have already spoken with a number of individuals and organisations with a history of involvement in state care. Now I would like to hear the views of the New Zealand community on the draft terms of reference," Sir Satyanand said.

"I will then present the Minister of Internal Affairs with a report on the results of the consultation along with any advice that I may have on the matters discussed. It will be for Cabinet to agree the terms of reference, which will be formally notified by the Minister.

"Once the terms of reference are gazetted, the Royal Commission can begin the process of hearing evidence, addressing the needs and concerns of survivors and investigating ways to prevent further abuse.

"We have an obligation to make a better future for all New Zealanders. We need to work together to make sure we don't repeat the mistakes of the past.

Submissions close on Monday, April 30.

For further information, visit www.abuseinstatecare.royalcommission.govt.nz.