23 February 2023

Face-to-face gatherings are part of the Pacific’s relationship lifeblood. For this reason, the Public Service Fale is privileged to have hosted its first in person Governance Board meeting since the Fale was established during 2020. The Governance Board’s role is to provide strategic oversight and direction for the Fale’s work programme.  

The Governance Board intended to meet in-person twice a year, but COVID-19 arrived just as the Fale was stood up, which meant immediately adapting to a world of virtual meetings and engagement. 

With international borders reopening two years later, in November 2022, Pacific Public Service Commissioner Board members and representatives journeyed from all corners of our Blue Pacific Continent to meet at the Fale based at Te Kawa Mataaho | Public Service Commission in Wellington, New Zealand. Board members travelled from the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, New Caledonia, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Tonga and Australia.  

Board Chair Luamanuvao Dame Winnie Laban, DNZM QSO, says she was humbled by the depth of commitment from the Board to travel and very appreciative of the excellent work undertaken by the Fale team to ensure the Board meeting could be held in person. 

“Face to face is our preferred Pacific way to meet and talanoa,” added Luamanuvao. 

Fale team members at the Mihi Whakatau

“At the mihi whakatau, led by Te Kawa Mataaho’s kaihautu Rauru Kirikiri, there was a sense of relief as the Board were welcomed as mana whenua for their visit. 

“I was encouraged that our Board clearly respected the significance of the occasion. This feeling of being together and of belonging set us in good stead to continue our work governing the Fale work programme, focussed on strengthening public services for all our Pacific citizens”. 

The Board representative from the Federated States of Micronesia, Public Service Commissioner Samson Pretrick, reflected on the success of the meeting, “We continue to see strong progress through the Fale’s work programme which focusses on areas such as enhanced digital connectivity, practical leadership development tools and meaningful approaches to strengthening public sector governance.” This is the support that typically, all Pacific Commissioners are looking for in our roles leading across our respective public services.  

“Coming together in person for the first time fostered a closer working relationship and a better understanding of our Public Service Commissions' common challenges, as well as how we might address these challenges collaboratively.” 

The Fale’s Deputy Commissioner Tania Ott acknowledged the Board’s commitment to the Fale as indicated by the travel needed for their first in person meeting at the end of a busy year for all Pacific Board members.  

A New Year's video message from the Fale's Deputy Commissioner, Tania Ott

Transcript – New Year 2023 Message Video(DOCX, 191 KB)

“In terms of the Fale’s work programme, feedback we have received this year indicates our offerings are highly impactful in terms of supporting public sector governance and leadership development. We are really pleased to have also facilitated strong connections between Commissions across the Pacific,” said Tania. 

Tania also introduced key members of her management team and principal advisors who lead the work programme. Each spoke about the offerings in these areas, and forward plans based on the Fale’s engagement with each country over the past 12 months. 

Tania noted the Board’s overwhelmingly positive response to their first in person meeting saying it led to a strong endorsement of development of a forward travel programme for the Fale and in country engagement for 2023.  

Beyond the Board meeting, the Fale also facilitated over a dozen additional bilateral meetings with Board members on topics including driving system and agency performance, public sector reform topics, change management, integrity and ethics, and improving diversity and inclusion in the public service. Board members also attended a diplomatic corps meet and greet with the Pacific Islands Heads of Mission and met with New Zealand’s then Minister for the Public Service and now Prime Minister, Hon. Chris Hipkins and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Nanaia Mahuta.  

Fale Governance Board Member attendees, November 2022 

Hon. Luamanuvao Dame Winnie Laban  

Chair, Public Service Fale Governance Board, New Zealand  

Samson Pretrick  

Personnel Officer, Office of Personnel, Federated States of Micronesia  

Ritite Tekiau 

Secretary, Public Service Office, Kiribati 

Eloïse Nicolas

Director, Human Resources & Civil Services Department, New Caledonia  

Victoria Posimani-Kalauni 

Public Service Commissioner, Niue  

Taies Sansan  

Secretary, Department of Personnel Management, Papua New Guinea  

Nonu Lemauga Saleimoa Va’ai 

Chair, Samoa Public Service Commission 

Lia Maka  

Former Chief Executive Officer, Public Service Commission, Tonga  

Observer Members 

Laura Johnston 

Executive Director – International, Australian Public Service Commission 

Peter Hughes 

Public Service Commissioner, Aotearoa | New Zealand