Tania and leadership

Chris Seed [MFAT], Peter Hughes [Te Kawa Mataaho], Hon. Luamanuvao Dame Winnie Laban [Public Service Fale Chair], Tania Ott [Public Service Fale Deputy Commissioner] and Laulu Mac Leauanae [MPP]

A Word from the Chairperson

Alii, Bonjour, Ekamorwir Omo, Fakalofa Lahi Atu, Gude, Halo Olketa, Ia Orana, Kia Ora, Kia Orana, Lenwo, Mālō ē lelei, Mauri, Ni sa Bula Vinaka, Tālofa, Talofa Lava, Taloha Ni and Warm Pacific Greetings!

Luamanuvao Dame Winnie Laban

As the Chairperson of our Public Service Fale, welcome to issue 2 of our Public Service Fale Newsletter.

I also want to thank you on behalf of our Te Tumu Whakarae mō Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commissioner, Head of Service, Peter Hughes, and the Deputy Commissioner Public Service Fale, Tania Ott, for joining us for our Pacific Nation ‘1-on-1’ meetings with each of you, our Public Service Commissioners, and representation from your teams. These meetings have been well received so far and as we near the completion of these talanoa, We look forward to having more talanoa on a regular basis. 

This issue is special in that we hear from our new Deputy Commissioner, Tania Ott, who many of you have met through our virtual bilateral conversations.

I want to take this time to introduce you more formally to Tania and the proven experience and skill set that she brings to this important leadership role of the Public Service Fale Team. Tania also comes from a legal background.

Tania is of Samoan and Māori descent with her family based in New Zealand and Samoa (Apia and Falealupo). Her iwi affiliations are Te Iwi o Ngātiwai.

Tania’s previous role as Assistant Commissioner at the Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission provides a solid foundation in leadership in the public service. Most notably, Health was one of Tania’s key portfolios as Assistant Commissioner and so her experience and knowledge of Covid-19 is an asset for our work across the Pacific region.

Tania has a heart and determination for our Pacific Region and a proven track record of building and maintaining strong relationships across the New Zealand public service and other branches of government. She is outcomes focused and is well respected for her hard work, intellect, accountability and her proven track record of Public Service and delivery on time. Tania is action oriented and it is my pleasure to introduce her to you at this time.

May I also take this time to send to you our thoughts and prayers as we continue to work and lead our Public Services during COVID-19 and these challenging times.

You will all hear from us soon about our connectivity project so we can stay connected and continue our work with the Public Service Fale.

It is a pleasure for us all to serve and work alongside you, to share our collective knowledge and wisdom, and to provide internationally best practice for both our Public Service Commissioners and public services in our region.

Warm regards, Luamanuvao Dame Winnie Laban 

Chairperson Public Service Working Group

A Word from the Deputy Commissioner Public Service Fale

Tania Ott

My warm welcome into the Deputy Commissioner Public Service Fale [Fale] role confirmed to me how special this position is and the privilege I hold to be trusted with it.

For the first time at Te Kawa Mataaho a Pacific ceremony to welcome the Deputy Commissioner role was held. It was special in every sense with the fa’alupega from our orator Roy Lagolago and the ceremony decorated in the woven pieces of the Pacific fala. We were honoured by the presence of distinguished guests Faife’au ‘Aoao Malua Martin Mariota, Te Tama Father Tikoua Kautu Elder Benny Prince, and leaders from our Ministry for Pacific Peoples (Laulu Mac Leauanae) and Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Chris Seed).  It was an enormous  honour to be welcomed in to the Fale this way. Thank you all.

I am thankful for my two managers Roy Lagolago [Secretariat] and Marisa Maepu [Programmes] for setting the scene and pace before I arrived.  Their knowledge and support in all matters of the Fale has helped me settle and has strengthened my leadership. They are both accomplished leaders and bring a richness of expertise and experience across the public service in Aotearoa and abroad.

In my nearly four weeks, I have enjoyed meeting many of you through the 1-on-1 virtual meetings with Public Service Commissioner Peter Hughes and our Chairperson Hon. Luamanuvao Dame Winnie Laban.

These meetings are important to build our connections particularly in the current global Covid-19 environment and with the Fono being deferred to 2021. Thank you all for the precious time you have taken to participate.

At the time of this issue, we have met with 11 of the 16 countries and will be meeting with the final five over the next couple of weeks. This has been an extraordinary experience for us all.

These meetings are important two-way conversations to help the Fale understand the unique context of your countries, the work programmes you have underway, your challenges and successes. It has been great to hear what is top of mind for you. Fundamentally, we are here to serve and facilitate your work and to help you achieve your goals and strengthen public services for your citizens. We also hope the meetings have helped you understand our public service in New Zealand in a deeper way.

From these conversations, the Fale team will begin a series of webinars that are meaningful and aimed to support you. We’ve had conversations around leadership, public service reforms and digital connectivity to name a few.

It is an exciting development of our discussions and the webinars will start this month – September!  You will see more information below.

Over the past month, we have also come together as a Fale team to plan our strategy and develop our work programme focused on how best we can serve you.

Without a doubt it has been a busy and exciting time for the Fale and I look forward to sharing more updates with you all as we progress our work together.

Fale Team

Tania Ott, Hon. Luamanuvao Dame Winnie Laban, Chris Seed [MFAT], Jonathan Kings [MFAT], other MFAT officials and the Fale team

Spirit of Service

Public Service Commission – Tonga

Ministry of Revenue and Customs Tonga presenting at Lavengamaile College

We believe it is truly a noble thing to choose to serve your country and your fellow citizens as a public servant. With this in mind, we will profile in our newsletters the good work our Pacific public servants are doing in the spirit of service to their countries.

Last month, the Tonga Ministry of Revenue and Customs demonstrated the spirit of service through their Tonga’s Tax Week Awareness programme. The theme of the week was “Let us be resilient in our voyage for a perpetual Tonga.”

They held forums for government agencies to help strengthen their partnerships and encourage greater compliance with rules and regulations.

The public service team went that extra mile and visited around 26 schools from primary, intermediate and secondary and across Tongatapu, Vava'u and Ha'apai. These visits helped students understand more of the Ministry’s work, and their role in serving their communities.

A great demonstration of the Tonga public service working together!

For more of the work this team is doing, visit their active Facebook page: Public Service Commission – Tonga.

Public Service Fale Webinar Series

On 23 September 2020 the Fale will begin a series of webinars for the Pacific Public Service Commissioners [Commissioners].

Amongst leadership and digital connectivity discussions, public service reforms is a common theme in the 1-on-1 sessions held with Commissioners over the last month.

The series will kick-off with topic Public Service Reform: New Zealand’s Public Service Act 2020. A session for the Commissioners to hear from Hugo Vitalis, Manager – Strategy and Innovation, and members of the team who will share their lessons learned when developing the Public Service Act 2020.

The following week, 30 September 2020, our second webinar topic is Working with Ministers and Political Neutrality. 

A session bringing together three speakers to share their different experiences and learnings from working with Ministers and managing political neutrality. In this webinar, we will hear valuable insights from three perspectives – that of a Public Service Commissioner, a former Minister of the Crown and a Ministry Secretary.

You will hear from Hon Luamanuvao Dame Winnie Laban – Chair, Public Service Fale Working Group; Peter Hughes – NZ Public Service Commissioner and Laulu Mac Leauanae – Chief Executive, Ministry for Pacific Peoples.

Thank you to the Commissioners who have already responded and confirmed attendance.

To remind, if you are interested in joining this session please contact the Fale on publicservicefale@publicservice.govt.nz

Keep an eye out for our upcoming webinars over the next few months.

Public Service Act 2020

In August, the Public Service Act 2020 was passed into law. With the enactment of the new Public Service Act means a new name - Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission. Or Te Kawa Mataaho for short.

This is a significant milestone for New Zealand public service as they work together to build a unified, agile and trusted public service.

In New Zealand, recent experiences in response to COVID-19 and other challenges have demonstrated that being able to join up across the public service is one of the most effective ways to address the complex, disruptive challenges we increasingly face.

The new Act provides the legislative framework to ensure that the New Zealand public service can continue to work flexibly and collaboratively together to respond quickly to the changing needs of their citizens.

This Act gives us some new tools that will help us mobilise and organise ourselves in more sustainable ways. For example, agencies working as joint ventures, sharing resources and data. It also gathers up in one place the purpose, principles, values and spirit of service that have characterised the public service for many years.

You can find the Act and more information here.

Around the Pacific


Fale Overview presented to the Premier of Niue

In August Niue Public Service Commissioner, Mrs Victoria Kalauni requested that the Fale team provide an overview document summarising the purpose and our role in supporting the Public Service Commissioners.

The purpose of the document was to assist with presenting the Public Service Faleto Hon. Dalton Tagelagi Premier of Niue/ Minister of Niue Public Service

We were pleased to be able to meet this request and that Mrs Kalauni was able to present it to Premier Tagelagi.

The Fale will continue to update the document when significant Fale milestones occur.

Please contact the Fale if you would like a copy of the Fale Overview document.


Permanent Secretary Dr Tapugao Falefou ceremony accepting his appointment

“It is a great honour to be trusted to lead this role and I look forward to working hard to serve our citizens.”

In August, the Tuvalu Government formally appointed the Dr. Tapugao Falefou to the Secretary to Government position. Dr Falefou was previously Secretary of Justice, Communication and Foreign Affairs.

In his new role Dr. Falefou will be overseeing the operations of the entire government service, and the performance of all secretaries [CEOs] of all government ministries.

“It is a great honour to be trusted to lead this role and I look forward to working hard to serve our citizens,” says Dr Falefou.

The acceptance ceremony was held with Cabinet Ministers, Government Permanent Secretary’s, and the Public Service Commission attendance.

The Fale team wishes to send our best wishes and congratulations to Dr. Falefou.

Credit Photo and Story: Ministry of Justice, Communication and Foreign Affairs, Tuvalu Government

Meeting the Commissioner

Peter Hughes Te Tumu Whakarae mō Te Kawa Mataaho | Public Service Commissioner, Head of Service

“The spirit of service is what motivates and unites the Public Service

In this issue, we profile New Zealand’s Te Tumu Whakarae mō Te Kawa Mataaho | Public Service Commissioner, and Head of Service, Peter Hughes.

Peter was appointed Commissioner in 2016 with over 35 years’ experience in the Public Service.

Peter believes strongly in the ideal of public service. Like all public servants, he chooses to do what he does because he cares and wants to make a difference.

“Public servants come to work every day to make their country or community a better place, “ Peter says.

“It’s about being motivated by something bigger than ourselves, a higher purpose.”

Peter’s public service career began as a clerk with the then Department of Social Welfare. Since then he has worked in roles ranging from field worker to the top tier of executive management. He has received numerous accolades for his work. His leadership roles consist of the Ministry of Social Development, Secretary for Internal Affairs, Chief Executive of the Health Funding Authority and Deputy Director-General of Health and Secretary of Education. He also served as Professor of Public Management and Head of the School of Government at Victoria University of Wellington.

Peter recently led the introduction of the Public Service Act 2020 in New Zealand, replacing the outdated State Services Act 1988. The new Act says the fundamental characteristic of the public service is acting with a spirit of service to the community, which must be preserved, protected and nurtured.

“The spirit of service is what motivates and unites the Public Service,” Peter says.

“That sense of being part of something bigger with a higher purpose. It requires humility and compassion in our work, which is something Pacific cultures have always done so well. The Pacific teaches us that it’s about opening our hearts, our minds, our resources and our time to the needs of others.”

Did you know?

For the time ever Te Kawa Mataaaho Public Service Commission in New Zealand had a Pacific welcome for the Deputy Commissioner, Public Service Fale.

This great video demonstrates the Fa’alupega [a salutation to address key representatives of a family or nu’u] for Tania Ott. Orator is Roy Lagolago.

What’s coming up

23 September

Public Service Fale Webinar Series:

Public Sector Reforms: New Zealand’s Public Service Act 2020

27 September Tuvalu Language Week
30 September

Public Service Fale Webinar Series:

Working with Ministers and Political Neutrality

4 October Fiji Language Week in New Zealand
6 October Pacific Public Service Commissioners Working Group Meeting
17 October New Zealand General Election
18 October Niue Language Week in New Zealand
25 October Tokelau Language Week in New Zealand
27 October Tuvalu Language Week in New Zealand
3 November Palau General Election

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