Congratulations to the 2020 Spirit Service Award winners! See Award Categories for more information about each category.

Te Tohu a te Pirimia | Prime Minister’s Award

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces the overall winner of the year, selected from the winners of the Better Outcomes, Service Excellence, Māori Crown Relationships and Leadership in Governance categories.

Prime Minister's Award (overall winner) and Leadership in Governance Award winner

Winner of Te Tohu a te Pirimia | Prime Minister’s Award (overall winner) & Te Tohu mō te Kaiārahi Mahi Whakahaere | Leadership in Governance Award

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, KiwiRail, the North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery Alliance and Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura

The Moving Mountains Kaikōura infrastructure project

The winners of the Leadership in Governance Award took a transparent and innovative approach to governance that delivered a hugely complex and challenging project. They introduced one governance structure that also brought in private sector partners. The Board adopted a kaupapa of people first, recognised local iwi as a Treaty of Waitangi partner, integrated the project into the community and focused on results that delivered value for money and openly shared information and risk. This model of governance of large infrastructure projects is now being used across $6.8 million of work from Queenstown to Whangarei.

Te Tohu mō te Tūhonotanga a Ngāi Māori me te Karauna | Māori Crown Relationships Award

Māori Crown Relationships Award winner

Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities, Te Rūnanga O Toa Rangatira - Ngāti Toa, Te Āhuru Mōwai, Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and Ministry of Social Development

Enabling iwi housing aspirations in Porirua

The winners of the Māori Crown Relationships Award started with kōrero, cups of tea and building trust. They’ve developed a modern, future-focused partnership based on a shared vision of enabling a thriving community, that’s returning whenua to iwi and devolving management of assets to improve intergenerational wellbeing and the health of mokopuna.

Te Tohu mō te Ratonga Whakahirahira | Service Excellence Award

Service Excellence Award winner

Ministry of Justice with New Zealand Police and Ara Poutama Aotearoa - Department of Corrections

Delivering justice services in support of the Christchurch Mosques sentencing

The winners of the Service Excellence Award poured their hearts and souls into their work in an unprecedented response that demonstrated New Zealand’s court system at its finest. Their innovative, culturally-informed, victim-focused efforts, which continued through changing COVID-19 alert levels, shows the huge difference that can be made for victims, without the need to change legislation. They exemplified what is possible when public servants work together with compassion, flexibility and outstanding spirit of service.

Te Tohu mō ngā Hua E Pai Ake Ana | Better Outcomes Award

This year, two finalists have been chosen as joint winners of the Better Outcomes Award for their extraordinary work supporting New Zealand during one of the biggest global challenges of our generation: COVID-19. Their combined efforts had a massive impact on our society: whānau and communities, as well as business and employment.

Better Outcomes Award winner

Ministry of Social Development

Whole of Ministry of Social Development response to COVID-19

The judges chose the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) as a joint winner for the spirit of service shown by staff who put people first and used technology to rapidly transform the way they work. Within three weeks of Level 4 lockdown MSD had moved their service to online and over the phone and achieved better response levels than before the COVID pandemic. More than 7500 New Zealanders were placed in work in June 2020, a 40% increase on the same month last year. At the same time, twice as many New Zealanders were placed into emergency housing and the MSD team checked in on 150,000 elderly New Zealanders. Rapid implementation of wrap around services, including counselling and sexual and family violence help, improved safety and wellbeing outcomes for 1.3 million New Zealanders.


Better Outcomes Award winner

Ministry of Social Development, Inland Revenue, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the Treasury

Supporting New Zealand businesses during the COVID-19 lockdown

The judges chose these agencies as joint winners for the collaborative spirit of service shown by the team in delivering the biggest change to the personal income tax system in a generation and providing support to half a million businesses to keep 1.8 million New Zealanders in work during the COVID-19 lockdown.

In just 18 days The Treasury and Inland Revenue designed and implemented a loan scheme that has helped more than 92,000 small business owners manage through the COVID-19 crisis. More than $1.5 billion has been lent, mostly within 24 hours of a business applying.

The MSD team worked with the Treasury, Inland Revenue and MBIE to pull off the near impossible: developing a proposal for the nation-wide Wage Subsidy Scheme in five days and rolling it out 48 hours later.

Te Tohu mō te Kaiārahi Rangatahi o te Tau | Young Leader of the Year

oung Leader of the Year winner

Hashmatullah Lafraie

Junior Counsel - Specialist Advisor
Ministry of Justice

Hashmat believes that “service is a spirit in itself”. He was instrumental in providing cultural advice to the Court and the Ministry of Justice in the wake of the Christchurch mosque attacks, exemplifying the highest standards of personal and professional integrity.

Te Tohu Oranga Angitū | Lifetime Achievement Award

Lifetime Achievement Award winner

Betty Hauraki

He tuitui tangata

He tuitui korowai

Betty comes to work every day motivated by a spirit of service to the communities and whānau she serves. She has been at the forefront of revitalising, nurturing and preserving the Māori language.

This year, more than one million people came together to celebrate Te Wiki o te Reo Māori | Māori Language Week. The success of Te Wiki o te Reo Māori | Māori Language Week is largely due to Betty’s dedicated, persistent and passionate work.

A descendent of Rongowhakaata and Ngāti Porou, Betty’s public service career began more than 50 years ago at the National Airways Corporation in Gisborne. For the last 20 years she has been at Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori | the Māori Language Commission, where her drive and ability to weave people together has helped turn a small community event into one of our biggest celebrations.

From a young girl in Manutuke growing up in a country where te reo was banned at school, to a kuia helping design a virtual Māori Language Week, Betty has been instrumental in the revitalisation of te reo.

Betty is a public servant who has made extraordinary contributions to New Zealand and New Zealanders.

Ngā kaitautoko o 2020 | Our 2020 sponsors

Ngā mihi ki ngā kaitautoko o 2020. Thank you to our 2020 sponsors.

ANZSOG Deloitte DXC.Technology Victoria University of Wellingotn - School of Government Westpac



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