Helene started her public service career as a frontline worker in the Department of Social Welfare. She developed her career in the Department and then in the Ministry of Social Development, where she finished her time as a Deputy Chief Executive in 2006. From 2007 to 2012, Helene was a Deputy Commissioner with the State Services Commission responsible for chief executive and agency performance in the Justice and National Security sectors. Helene was appointed Secretary of Defence in 2012 and completed her term of office in June 2019. She was appointed Deputy State Services Commissioner in July 2019. Helene became a companion of the Queen Service Order in 2019. She holds a Masters in Strategic Studies from Victoria University.
Dave Tokohau Samuels is a seasoned public service leader with strong ties to iwi, hapū and whānau Māori. He arrived at Te Puni Kōkiri after working in the international arena for the past five years growing trade and market access in New Zealand’s primary industries in the Middle East and Asia. He has a strong background in policy and economic development including leading the Policy unit at Te Puni Kōkiri from 2005-2012. During his time as the Policy Director, he led successful initiatives to bolster Māori economic and business development and the development of the Māori Economic Strategy and Action Plan “He kai kei aku ringa” which was released in 2012.
Debbie took up her role as Chief Executive, Ministry of Social Development in February 2019. She was previously the Statutory Deputy State Services Commissioner at the State Services Commission. She was also accountable for supporting the Commissioner with chief executive appointments, performance management, and led work to restructure and simplify chief executive remuneration. Debbie started her public service career in 1980 as a frontline case manager at the then Department of Social Welfare. Debbie has held a range of senior roles in MSD including Deputy Chief Executive, Service Delivery; Deputy Chief Executive, Office of the Chief Executive; and Regional Commissioner, Northland.
Laulu Mac Leauanae
Laulu is Chief Executive of the Ministry for Pacific Peoples. In prior roles, he was Chief Executive of the Pacific Cooperation Foundation and the General Manager of Pure Pacifika Limited, a company that exported horticultural products from the South Pacific primarily into Asian markets. Before this, Laulu worked in the primary healthcare sector for ProCare Health Limited. He was initially the Pacific Health Manager and within a year was promoted into Senior Management roles. Earlier in his career he worked in Pacific community and business development with a role at the Pacific Business Trust. He started his career practicing as a lawyer.
He is of Samoan descent and holds the Chiefly title of Laulu from Fa’ala. His aiga reigns from Fa’ala, Iva and Sa’anapu.
Rachel is the Deputy Secretary of Cabinet (Constitutional and Honours) in the Cabinet Office, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
Before joining the Cabinet Office in 2014, Rachel worked as a litigation lawyer in private practice, as a senior legal and policy advisor for the New Zealand Law Commission, and as General Manager (Law Reform) at the New Zealand Law Society. Rachel’s current role includes leading the Honours Unit, which administers a range of honours and awards instituted by The Queen of New Zealand and provides policy advice and support to the Prime Minister on matters related to the New Zealand Royal Honours system.
Rebecca sees a secure state and a well-informed government as fundamental in supporting and maintaining the New Zealand way of life. With a legal background and professional experience in public sector leadership, she believes in the effective operation of democracy, the constitution, the rule of law, ethics, and good process. Rebecca came to the NZSIS after six years as Secretary of the Cabinet and Clerk of the Executive Council within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. She served under four Prime Ministers and four Governors-General in that role and in earlier roles in DPMC. She also worked in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and started her career with nine years in the private sector. In March 2014, she was appointed as a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order, in recognition of her service to the Queen as Cabinet Secretary and Clerk of the Executive Council.