The two women who allege Deputy Commissioner Wally Haumaha bullied them felt like they were "on trial" during the Government Inquiry which cleared the process which led to his promotion.
The pair also unsuccessfully asked Mary Scholtens QC to remove some details from the report, released publicly on Monday, until a separate investigation into their claims was over.
Scholtens considered their allegations as part of her inquiry after the Herald reported that three women working on a joint project with Haumaha left Police National Headquarters in June 2016 because of his alleged behaviour.
The QC was supposed to only look into whether the bullying allegations could have been considered relevant to the appointment, not the veracity of the complaints, which are being investigated separately by the Independent Police Conduct Authority.
In clearing the appointment process for Haumaha, Scholtens said there was no formal complaint to be considered by the State Services Commission panel which recommended him.
Even if a formal complaint was known, Scholtens found the likely consequence would be the concerns would have formed part of Commissioner Mike Bush's assessment of Haumaha's leadership style.
And Bush already knew Haumaha could "forceful" and "demanding", said Scholtens, because of a blunt appraisal of his strengths and weaknesses for a previous promotion.
"It may or may not have been something [Bush] then chose to refer explicitly to the appointment panel," said Scholtens. "That would have been a matter for his discretion."
Two of the three women, referred to as Ms A and Ms C in the Government Inquiry, laid formal complaints this year.
The pair told the Herald they were disappointed with the report and had asked Scholtens to remove details from the draft, because they were still under IPCA investigation.
"We are saddened by the tone of the report, which seems to fly in the face of contemporary thinking and practices that acknowledge the pressures and impact faced by complainants," the two women said in a statement.
"We believe that, for this reason, the report lacks balance."
While Scholtens found there was no formal complaint in 2016, the two women said this "very much feels like semantics".
"We struggled to get our complaints about Deputy Commissioner Haumaha's behaviour taken seriously. We came up against impenetrable systemic barriers.
"We want to be clear; we complained."
In a team meeting after the trio left PNHQ, one of their managers told them Haumaha was unlikely to change his behaviour and so they would need to change.
"In particular, he noted that they way they behaved with [Haumaha] would be critical, and that they needed to be conscious of things like body language and language used (both factors raised with him by DC Haumaha)," Scholtens wrote.
The report by Scholtens details how the concerns were discussed with senior managers within the Justice Ministry and Corrections, as well as internally within the police.
Deputy Commissioner Mike Clement then called Audrey Sonerson, acting chief executive at Justice, and Christine Stevenson, the deputy chief executive at Corrections.
He was left with the clear impression neither department wanted to take it further.
"We were never given the opportunity by the Police to formalise our complaints at that time," the two women said.
"The outcome is that our concerns were minimised and the incidents in question were never investigated."
After the Herald broke the bullying claims story in August, the two women laid complaints with the IPCA and were also witnesses in the Government Inquiry.
In terms of the scope of her Inquiry, Scholtens was not looking into the merits of their claims - just whether the appointment panel should have been told of them.
However, she characterised the allegations as Haumaha's adoption of a "direct, police style-approach" to a multi-agency project, "where a more orthodox public sector approach may have been appropriate".
In Scholtens' view, the complaints were the responsibility of Justice and Corrections to deal with as management saw fit.
"None saw these matters as warranting a complaint to Police," wrote Scholtens.
"On my understanding of the facts of the various allegations, I consider their approach was reasonable."
The two women said they asked Scholtens to remove parts of their evidence on reading the draft report two weeks ago, as their claims were still under investigation by the IPCA.
"Ms Scholtens advised us when we presented for interviews that she was gathering information about our experiences so that she could understand the wider context. We are concerned that Ms Scholtens' report contains an unnecessary level of detail about our experiences, including assessments of the veracity of our claims."
The two women say the impact on their personal and professional lives has been significant.
"We are both passionate about creating better outcomes for Māori who have encountered the justice system.
"One of us is wahine Māori with a deep commitment to kaupapa Māori, decades of experience, and a reputation for informally mentoring others.
"The other is a lawyer with a background in working for those harmed by domestic violence, sexual violence and other serious crime, who has worked extensively in the area of restorative justice and across Māori spaces.
"We have felt deeply frustrated throughout this process and at times felt like we were on trial."
The IPCA report is expected to be released in December.
The Government Inquiry was announced after the Herald revealed in June comments made by, or attributed to, Haumaha during the Operation Austin investigation in 2004.
These comments raised concerns from survivor advocate Louise Nicholas which were understandable, wrote Scholtens, but there was no evidence unearthed in Operation Austin to say Haumaha had done anything wrong.
And while Police Commissioner Mike Bush knew Nicholas had an issue with Haumaha in the past, he did not raise this with the appointment panel as he thought the problem had been resolved.
This was reasonable, said Scholtens, although State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes and his deputy Debbie Power - who were on the appointment panel with Bush - thought it would have been "prudent" for him to raise it anyway.
Bush and Haumaha both welcomed the release of the report yesterday, but could not comment on the bullying allegations because of the IPCA investigation.
"It has not been easy for anyone, as I know from my own weeks and months waiting for the outcome," Haumaha said.
"I have also gained personal insights from this process."