A high profile gang-member's key role in shaping a Royal Commission of Inquiry into state abuse is now under investigation, according to media reports.

Mongrel Mob member Harry Tam has a past domestic violence conviction but is now working in an influential role weighing up applications to choose the inquiry's 20 members.

It had led two women, including a state abuse survivor, to express fears to the commission over Tam, Māori justice campaigner Paora Moyle told Radio NZ.

One of the women also went to police.

Advertisement

Moyle said the situation brought the commission's work into disrepute and meant some survivors didn't feel safe coming forward to talk its inquiry team.

The commission this morning responded in a statement by saying it had started an independent investigation into the allegations, RNZ reported.

Tam's former long-term partner Charlotte Mildon was one of the women voicing concern in an email to the commission, RNZ said.

Tam was previously issued with a Police Safety Order to stay away from Mildon for four days after a domestic incident, reported to police in July 2017, RNZ said.

Tam, a former national co-ordinator for the Mongrel Mob advisory panel, was also convicted in 1994 of assaulting his wife in front of their three children.

He was sentenced to three months' periodic detention and six months' supervision.

He appealed but this was thrown out in 1996.