03 February 2023

This coming Monday is a significant day for all New Zealanders: Te Rā o Waitangi | Waitangi Day.

Waitangi Day of course commemorates the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi | the Treaty of Waitangi and is an important time for us to reflect on the relationship between Māori and the Crown. 

As public servants, we have a responsibility to support the Crown in its relationships with Māori under the Treaty, and we must develop and maintain the capability of the Public Service to engage with Māori and to understand Māori perspectives. These requirements, among others, are now legislated and set out in the Public Service Act 2020 – and advancing this is a top priority for the Public Service Leadership Team.

Waitangi Day is also traditionally a time for rest and relaxation for many New Zealanders however I want to acknowledge that this won’t be the case for everyone this year.

The devastating flooding and destruction of property means that many people in the north are facing a very tough time as they start to move from response to recovery.

But they won’t be doing it alone.

As always, I have been proud to see the Public Service demonstrate the spirit of service and swing into action to help Kiwis respond to these types of events.  

Public servants from a wide range of agencies have been out on the ground helping local communities in their moment of need. Whether it is helping displaced families find temporary accommodation or providing financial support to people who have lost the essentials.

Regional Public Service Commissioners are heavily involved on the front-line and are operating as a key link with central government agencies on what is needed locally.   

Agencies are working together to assess damage to key infrastructure like roads and bridges and what will be needed to make them safe and usable again. 

And there are many other public servants working in the background to support the local emergency response and others preparing advice and analysis on how we support the recovery.

So while there is still a huge amount of work to be done, I know public servants will continue to provide the services and support New Zealanders need and rely on.

Thank you so much for your dedication and commitment to that mission.