Papa Pounamu - He Tirohanga Whānui | Papa Pounamu Overview

The New Zealand Public Service impacts the wellbeing of every New Zealander. Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) is an essential part of who we are and what we do. To achieve our D&I goals our Public Service needs to value, reflect, and understand the communities that we’re here to serve. The Public Service Act 2020 strengthens and supports our D&I commitments with explicit expectations on fairness, diversity and fostering a workplace that is inclusive for all.

Papa Pounamu was established in 2017 to bring together diversity and inclusion practices and initiatives across the Public Service. Papa Pounamu sits alongside our separate, but related, work programmes to strengthen the Public Sector capability for Māori Crown Relationships, building Positive and Safe workplaces and closing Public Service pay gaps through Kia Toipoto, the Public Service Pay Gaps Action Plan. Together these programmes of work are developing our Public Service of the future.

We’ve made some good progress for D&I, particularly in increasing gender representation at senior leadership levels and closing gender pay gaps. The gender pay gap is now the lowest it’s been since measurement began in 2000. But there’s more to do.

Papa Pounamu developed the D&I work programme to make the most difference for all our people across all dimensions of diversity. The programme set the following five commitment areas:

  1. Te Urupare i te Mariu | Addressing Bias
  2. Ngā tūhononga e kōkiritia ana e ngā kaimahi | Employee-led Networks
  3. Te āheinga ā-ahurea | Cultural Competence
  4. Hautūtanga Ngākau Tuwhera | Inclusive Leadership
  5. Te whakawhanaungatanga | Building Relationships

There are 39 Public Service chief executives (CEs) who make up the Public Service Leadership Team and each of these CEs agreed to make the Papa Pounamu commitments mandatory in their agencies. Each agency varies significantly in size, function, and role – and all are at different stages of their D&I journeys.

We know that Crown entities are also focused on D&I in their workplaces. We are working with Crown entities to provide them with access to our D&I work including the Papa Pounamu work programme and the Kia Toipoto, Public Service Pay Gaps Action Plan.

Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch Masjidain - Recommendation #34

This system reporting on Papa Pounamu fulfils the recommendation from the Royal Commission of Inquiry that encourages the Public Service Commissioner to publish an annual report that:

  • provides a comprehensive view of progress by the Public sector on the Papa Pounamu commitments including the identification of areas where those Public sector agencies are performing well, areas where improvements can be made and critical insights across all agencies about where to direct their efforts; and
  • prioritises reporting on progress made by the Public sector agencies involved in the counter-terrorism effort.

Covid-19 environment

For the past two years, the Public Service has led our country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of our agencies and people have been at the centre of priority work involved in the response. We continue to have a critical role in the response to and recovery from COVID-19. Like many workplaces across New Zealand, this has forced us to adjust and reprioritise existing work plans.


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