25 August 2023

In the bush, at sea, on snow and ice – public servants do a wide range of roles that take them well beyond the office.

Indeed, doing interesting work is one of the top reasons people give for joining, and remaining in, New Zealand’s Public Service.

So, where could a career as a public servant take you?

Let’s start exploring.  

At sea

Better things happen at sea, and public servants from several agencies regularly find themselves on ships and boats serving the country.

For example, Customs’ Maritime Unit is based in Auckland and deployed throughout the country to respond to identified border risks. The team patrols areas of coastline as well as carrying out searches of commercial and cruise ships. 

Then there are fishery officers working for the Ministry of Primary Industries, who maintain and protect our resources by stopping poaching and the illegal selling of seafood.

The New Zealand Defence Force deploys aircraft and ships on patrols in New Zealand waters, the Pacific and the Southern Ocean, to detect and deter illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

And the two specialist Police Maritime Units in Auckland and Wellington carry out a wide range of activities, from investigating crime to search and rescue operations. 

New Zealand Customs Service.

On snow and ice

Antarctica New Zealand is the government agency responsible for carrying out New Zealand's activities in Antarctica, supporting world leading science and environmental protection.

The organisation works to ensure Antarctica's environment continues to be protected, that scientists are supported to find the answers to complex scientific questions, and science outcomes are communicated back to policy makers and the public.

Each year seasonal staff are employed to keep the home fires burning at Scott Base. The majority of staff will work over the summer season from September to February. The remaining staff (12-15 depending on the season) ‘winter over’, spending a total of 13 months on ice until the following season's staff arrive. 

Antarctica New Zealand. Photo by Al Chapman, Antarctica New Zealand.

In the desert

In terms of barren landscapes, Te Onetapu, commonly known as the Rangipo Desert, is a beauty.

The frozen area is home to the New Zealand Army’s Waiouru Military Camp, where all soldiers complete their initial basic training.

The camp hosts about 500 civilian and military staff. The adjacent training area includes weapons ranges, military manoeuvre areas, an urban training facility, as well as a helicopter landing area. These facilities support all three NZDF Services as well as other government agencies and international partners.

While not part of the core Public Service, the New Zealand Defence Force is part of the wider public sector as one of five Non-Public Service Departments. The others are the Police, Parliamentary Counsel Office, Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives, and Parliamentary Service. 

In the bush

There are a wide range of roles that take public servants out of the office and into the wilderness of New Zealand.

For example, Department of Conservation rangers work in a variety of different environments and across a range of projects including track maintenance, weed management, campground support, and amenity maintenance.

There are also many people across multiple agencies working on pest management across the country. 

DOC’s National Predator Control Programme protects native wildlife and forests at important conservation sites across New Zealand. There is also a specific plan for controlling Himalayan Thar. 

Ministry for Primary Industries.

On farms

Then there are our animal welfare inspectors who work for the Ministry of Primary Industries. MPI is responsible for enforcing animal welfare law on our farms and promoting policies for the humane treatment of animals. To help enforce the rules, animal welfare inspectors are needed on the ground to visit farmers and follow up on complaints. 

The government also runs Pāmu, which is the brand name for Landcorp Farming Limited. Landcorp is a State-Owned Enterprise with a nationwide portfolio of farms that produce milk, beef, lamb, wool, venison, wood and more. 

In cyberspace

Not technically a ‘physical’ place, but it certainly can be considered wild.

At the forefront of New Zealand’s cyber security is the National Cyber Security Centre. Part of the Government Communications Security Bureau, their mission is to protect Aotearoa New Zealand’s wellbeing and prosperity through trusted cyber security services.

They work with the consent of nationally significant organisations to detect and disrupt high-impact cyber threats that are typically beyond the capability of commercially available products and services.

There is also CERT-NZ which supports businesses, organisations and individuals affected by cyber security incidents. CERT is also part of the Government Communications Security Bureau.

In outer space

Well, sort of. Ok, not really.

But we do have our own dedicated space agency. Set up in 2016 by MBIE, the New Zealand Space Agency is the lead government agency for space policy, regulation and sector development.

They do things like support rocket launches, support space-related science and innovation, regulate the use of space from New Zealand, and develop space policy and strategy.

What’s more, they offer along with NASA a number of internship and scholarship opportunities

Like the sound of some of these roles?

The Public Service is made up of diverse, dedicated people working in communities right across the country.

For job opportunities across the Public Service, just go to jobs.govt.nz

There you'll find a handy tool that makes it simple to search for jobs using keywords, locations and categories. Just choose your parameters and you will see a list of jobs that match your preferences.

Good luck!