We welcome and celebrate the richness diversity brings to the workplace and our mahi. People are the key to the success of the public service, and we make every effort to better reflect the communities we serve, welcoming people into the public service who bring different experiences, capabilities and knowledge.

Meet several public servants from some agencies across the public service

Te Papa Atawhai | Department of Conservation

Conservation blog – a behind-the-scenes look at DOC’s conservation work

Te mana ārai o Aotearoa | New Zealand Customs Service

What our people say – Jake and Megan share why they work for customs

Manatū Kaupapa Waonga | Ministry of Defence

Who we are – a few introductions to those who work for a small agency that has fewer than 150 people

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Internal Affairs

Meet Rosie Perez who enjoys working in technology

Tāhū o te Ture | Ministry of Justice

Meet our people – enthusiastic people all working towards a vision of a safe and just Aotearoa New Zealand

Toitū te Whenua | Land Information New Zealand

Role profiles – the broad scope of what they do offers a wide range of roles across different locations

Te Manatū Waka | Ministry of Transport

Staff profiles – intelligent, collaborative and passionate about what they do

Meet some of our senior leaders

Dave Samuels

Dave Tohohau Samuels
Te Tumu Whakarae mō Te Puni Kōkiri | Ministry of Māori Development

Dave Samuels is Secretary for Māori Development. He is a seasoned public service leader with strong ties to iwi, hapū and whānau Māori. He was appointed Toihautū Te Puni Kōkiri in September 2019 after working in the international arena for 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 policy at Te Puni Kōkiri. He hails from Waikato-Tainui and Te Whakatōhea. Read more


Renee Graham
Te Tumu Whakahaere, Toi Hau Tāngata | Social Wellbeing Agency

Renee is the Chief Executive of the Social Wellbeing Agency. The Agency works across the Public Service, providing strategic expertise and advice on complex social issues. Previously, Renee was the Chief Executive of Minitatanga mō ngā Wāhine | Ministry for Women. During Renee’s tenure, the Ministry successfully gained ministerial agreement for an increased 50 percent target for women on public sector boards and an action plan to eliminate the gender pay gap in the core public service. A key focus of the Ministry’s work programme was to improve outcomes for wāhine Māori. Read more


Aiono Matthew Aileone
Deputy Chief Executive, Te Manatū mō nga Iwi ō te Moana-nui-ā-Kiwa | Ministry for Pacific Peoples

Aiono is Deputy Secretary, Policy, Research and Evaluation at Te Manatū mō nga Iwi ō te Moana-nui-ā-Kiwa | Ministry for Pacific Peoples, where he also has responsibility for the Ministry’s Pacific Languages Unit and Pacific Housing Initiative. Aiono was on secondment to Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission as Assistant Commissioner. In 2004, he was admitted to the roll of barristers and solicitors of the High Court of New Zealand. Later in 2018, Aiono graduated from Massey University with a Master of Business Administration with First Class Honours. Aiono is an active member of the Tafesilafa’i Samoan Catholic community in Christchurch. His parents are originally from the village of Fasito’outa in Samoa, where his chiefly title of Aiono was bestowed. Read more

Diana Sarfati
Te Tumu Whakahaere, Te Aho o Te Kahu | Cancer Control Agency

Professor Diana Sarfati is the Chief Executive of Te Aho o Te Kahu | Cancer Control Agency. As a public health physician, cancer epidemiologist and health services researcher Diana brings a commitment to improving equity and cancer outcomes through evidence-based, person-centred care and using strong collective expertise. Read more

Anne Hawker
Principal Disability Advisor, Te Manatū Whakahiato ora | Ministry of Social Development

Anne has been a public servant for 24 years. As the Principal Disability Advisor at Te Manatū Whakahiato ora | Ministry of Social Development, Anne is passionate about making a real difference to the lives of disabled people, their families and whanau, and ensuring the public service is truly accessible and supportive of employing people with disabilities. In 2021, Anne was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to people with disabilities.

Meet our 2019 Public Servant Honour recipients

Te Tohu Ratonga Tūmatanui | New Zealand Public Service Medal

The New Zealand Public Service Medal is awarded to public servants who have given meritorious service.

Medal recipients are people who:

  • have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to New Zealand and New Zealanders
  • are exemplary, or a model for other Public Service employees
  • bring significant benefit to New Zealand or the Public Service
  • are exceptional and otherwise worthy of recognition.

The New Zealand Public Service Medal was established by Royal Warrant in 2018 and is part of the New Zealand Royal Honours system.

Five medals were awarded for the first time in November 2018. Read more

In 2019, six medals were awarded. Read more

Ms Kaye MacDonald (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Māmoe, Waitaha)
Regional Manager Oranga Tamariki,
Upper South Island

Kaye has worked tirelessly in child protection – one of the most challenging areas of public service – for nearly 30 years. In this time, she has helped countless whānau and tamariki/mokopuna.

Mr John Henderson
Regional Commissioner for Social Development
Ministry of Social Development

The spirit of service has shone through John’s 41 years of dedicated support for New Zealanders.

John’s staunch advocacy for helping people into work, ending family violence and supporting young people to achieve their aspirations shows his commitment to putting people and their needs first.

Mrs Maree Hayes
Court Services Manager – Criminal
Ministry of Justice

Every day, for 43 years, Maree has been putting people first. As an Invercargill High and District Courts employee, she’s been making sure justice is accessible and everyone is treated with dignity and respect.

Dr Craig Trotter
Principal Adviser
Ministry for Primary Industries.

Craig is passionate about developing evidence-based policy to advise decision makers on addressing climate change for the benefit of future generations of New Zealanders. He has made a significant contribution to solving the difficult challenges associated with meeting New Zealand’s obligations to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions.

Mrs Diane Fenika
Director, Regional Partnerships Southern
Ministry for Pacific Peoples

Diane understands that building enduring relationships with communities relies on earning trust and respect. For her, every day brings new opportunities to do this in her work with South Island Pacific communities.

Mrs Mabel Flight
Residential Manager, Tongariro Prison
Department of Corrections

Mabel works with compassion and dedication, delivering kaupapa Māori values. As a result, she is the ‘go to’ person at Tongariro Prison for anyone who wants to better understand a taha Māori approach. She is also a valuable ‘go to’ person for the rest of the organisation, as she brings the experience and lessons from Tongariro Prison to many national Corrections forums.

Find out about those who received a Te Hāpai Hāpori | Spirit of Service Award

The Spirit of Service Awards celebrate outstanding public sector initiatives that deliver great outcomes motivated by a spirit of service to the community.

The spirit of service Awards 2019 winners

See how we meet up: Te Puna Huihuinga Kaimahi | Employee Led Networks

Employee Led Networks are voluntary groups of like-minded people from public sector agencies around New Zealand that come together with common interests. They help employees connect, share ideas and support each other in reaching their potential.

With a range of objectives, the networks help to foster communities and a culture of inclusion, acceptance and mutual respect. Networks play an important part in bringing New Zealand’s public sector workforce together.

Related Content

Diversity and Inclusion in the Public Service

Te Rā Ratonga Tūmatanui | Public Service Day Awards

Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission LinkedIn

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