20 September 2022

Deputy Public Service Commissioner Ms Helene Quilter QSO has today announced the appointment of Laulu Mac Leauanae to the position of Secretary for Culture and Heritage and Chief Executive, Manatū Taonga – Ministry for Culture and Heritage.


Laulu Mac Leauanae

Manatū Taonga has an important role promoting a confident and connected culture to enrich the lives of all Aotearoa New Zealand’s people. The Ministry supports many of New Zealand’s arts, media, heritage and sports organisations, advises government on cultural matters and provides research and resources for all to access. A wide range of cultural experiences are delivered through the organisations the Ministry funds.

The Ministry’s Chief Executive is responsible for providing strategic leadership to the agency and across the system to achieve better cultural outcomes for the increasingly diverse faces of modern New Zealand.

“I’m very pleased to appoint Laulu to this role,” Ms Quilter said, acknowledging Mr Leauanae’s Samoan chieftain title.

“Laulu is a well-known and respected leader across the Public Service and Aotearoa’s Pasifika communities where he has championed and prioritised the languages and cultures central to Pacific identities. Laulu has a deep understanding of what heritage and culture mean to the diverse communities that comprise Aotearoa.”

“In addition, Laulu’s ability to build effective partnerships and increase the connectedness of communities to the public service will be of importance in his new role, as will his sophisticated context management and advisory skills”.

Mr Leauanae is currently the Secretary for Pacific Peoples and Chief Executive at the Ministry for Pacific Peoples, a position he has held since 2017.  Under Laulu’s leadership, the Ministry has grown in influence and impact. One significant highlight of Laulu's tenure is the recently launched All-of-Government Pacific Wellbeing Strategy – which has Pacific languages, values and culture at its core – and is focused on transforming the public service system to be more responsive to Pacific peoples’ needs and aspirations.

From 2014-2017, he held the role of Chief Executive, Pacific Cooperation Foundation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade funded trade and development agency focussed on strengthening the whanaungatanga connections between Aotearoa and our Pacific neighbours.

Mr Leauanae is of Sāmoan descent and has āiga (extended family) connections with the villages of Fa'ala, Iva and Sa'anapu. His matai title Laulu is from Fa'ala where it was bestowed in a traditional saofa'i ceremony in July 2010.

“Laulu is a sophisticated organisational leader who is experienced at building and leading high performing teams. He also brings cultural competence and empathy to leadership, and I am looking forward to seeing the impact he will make. He is well positioned to take up this role,” added Ms Quilter.

Mr Leauanae holds a Master of Business Administration from Henley Management College, UK, with his dissertation focussing on ‘Community Participation in Governance’ and a Bachelor of Laws from Auckland University. He has also recently completed the Executive Leadership Programme at Oxford University’s Blavatnik School of Government.

He has been appointed for five years from 17 October 2022.


Mr Leauanae had been the Secretary for Pacific Peoples and Chief Executive at the Ministry for Pacific Peoples since 2017.

He was Chief Executive at the Pacific Cooperation Foundation from 2014 to 2017.

Between 2012 and 2014, Mr Leauanae was a director at the business consultancy Macal Consulting Limited.

For two years (2011-2012) he was General Manager, Pure Pacifika Limited with the Reef Group.

From 2007 to 2011 he held three senior management roles with ProCare Health Limited.

Prior to this (2003-2006) he was a Training Manager and Business Advisor with Pacific Business Trust.

He was Team Leader (2002) and Programme Coordinator (2001-2002) at Pacifica Life Community Development Trust.

From 2000 to 2001, he was a solicitor with Sullivan & Associates.

Mr Leauanae has served in various governance roles including as Vice President of the Auckland Cancer Society, Director of Macal Consultancy Limited, and Director of Careerforce Industry Training Organisation.



Media queries:  Grahame Armstrong 021 940 457 or grahame.armstrong@publicservice.govt.nz