About the survey

What was Te Taunaki | Public Service Census?

Te Taunaki was a survey of approximately 60,000 public servants working in 36 Public Service agencies (departments and departmental agencies), including New Zealand employees based overseas. The survey questions focused on diversity, inclusion and wellbeing at work, a unified Public Service, and strengthening Māori-Crown relationships. The final overall response rate was 63.1%, representing the views and experiences of about 40,000 public servants.

Why were all Public Service employees being surveyed?

It’s important that the Public Service represents the people we serve, and that we have the tools and resources to do our jobs well. Getting a better understanding of the diversity of public servants will help build a unified Public Service that represents the people we serve, and where public servants feel supported to be themselves at work.

This information will be used to drive policy improvements in areas such as flexible working, opportunities to shift between agencies, pay equity for people in similar roles, hiring practices, as well as training and development.

When was the survey conducted?

Te Taunaki opened on Tuesday 11 May 2021 and closed in early June.

Who conducted the survey?

The Census was conducted by an independent research provider, Research New Zealand, on behalf of Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission.

Who participated?

The survey was voluntary, but every staff member was asked to participate.

The final overall response rate for Te Taunaki | Public Service Census is 63.1%, representing the views and experiences of about 40,000 public servants. This comprises 60.5% (around 38,340) public servants completing the survey, and a further 2.6% (1,640) completing at least all of the diversity questions. Measuring the diversity of the Public Service is a key priority for Te Taunaki so it is important to include these partial responses in our analysis and reporting.

What kind of questions were in the survey?

Survey topics include demographic questions about public servants and their role, flexible working, work-life balance, career development, cultural capability, what attracted them to join the Public Service, and how they feel about it now.

How was the survey developed?

Te Taunaki was developed with help from a range of agencies and groups across the Public Service, including Stats NZ, Te Puni Kōkiri, Te Arawhiti, Te Taura Whiri i te reo Māori, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment as well as the Office for Disability Issues.

We ran cognitive testing with 25 randomly selected public servants in early 2021.

There was also a pilot testing phase in late March and April 2021 with public servants from the Public Service agencies taking part in Te Taunaki.

How accurate is the information in the reporting?

For information on the methodology of the survey, including development, testing, participation rates, and margin of error, see the Technical Report prepared by our research provider.

Your Information

What will happen to the information participants provided?

Survey information is kept anonymous. Responses are grouped and included in summary reporting at the agency and system level. Individuals will not be identified in any reporting.

Each agency that participates received summary level information on what the people in their agency said. For example, 45 percent of people in this agency agreed with a statement.

Where there are small numbers of people in a group, we suppress the number so no one can be identified.

See our privacy page for more details on how confidentiality is maintained for datasets.

How will you keep information secure?

The information was collected securely by Research NZ, whose Security Policy and Practices meet the requirements set out in the New Zealand Information Security Manual (NZISM).

An anonymised version of the results are securely stored in Te Kawa Mataaho’s internal system.

What sort of information will be available to individual agencies?

Agencies received their own results and system-level results for benchmarking. Individual responses are not be identifiable and data representing small numbers of employees are be suppressed to maintain confidentiality.

Reporting results

How can I learn what the survey found?

Results from the survey can be explored here.

How were results shared with agencies?

Aggregated results were reported back to each agency. This means the agency leaders could see how their people responded as a whole (eg, 45 percent of the agency agreed with this statement).

What if I want specialised reporting from the survey?

If you have questions about results, you can request further information from us at commission@publicservice.govt.nz.

What if I want to conduct research using the data?

We invite applications from bona fide researchers to use the anonymised Census dataset on site at Te Kawa Mataaho. Iwi affiliation is part of the dataset, and we can assist iwi to access information about public servants from their community. Contact census@publicservice.govt.nz for more information about research using the Census dataset.

Contact us

If I have more questions, who do I ask?

Please contact us at census@publicservice.govt.nz.

Last modified: