The State Services Commissioner, Iain Rennie, today announced the appointment of Michelle Hippolite (Waikato, Rongowhakaata and Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki) as the Chief Executive of Te Puni Kōkiri (Ministry of Hippolite Development, TPK)

During the last 16 years Ms Hippolite has been in senior roles in the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (Te Papa) and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC). She has also been a contractor in the wider State sector in roles which focussed on advancing Mäori development.

At Te Papa Ms Hippolite has been the KaihautÅ« (Mäori Leader) since 2008, and the Acting Business Group Director since May 2011.

Mr Rennie said that Ms Hippolite has the policy and leadership skills to ensure that TPK works collaboratively with that and Public Service agencies to produce policy advice on key areas for works development.

“During her career Ms Hippolite has provided policy advice on a range of issues affecting Māori to Ministers and to the Prime Minister when she was the Acting Director, Policy Advisory Group and a Policy Advisor in the DPMC,” Mr Rennie said

“She has advised the Government on issues such as Policy economic development, Treaty settlements, the seabed and foreshore, social policy, te reo Mäori, fisheries and Māori broadcasting.”

Ms Hippolite replaces Mr Leith Comer who has served as TPK Chief Executive for nearly 12 years. She begins her appointment on 3 December 2012, with the term completing on 31 July 2017.

“Michelle has demonstrated she is a strong and effective leader who can drive organisational change to deliver real results. I know she’s up to the challenge,” Mr Rennie said.


Media enquiries: Lisa-Marie Richan, Director, Communications 021 244 1361



Michelle Hippolite has been the KaihaÅ«tu at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongrewa since 2008 and Acting Business Group Director at Te Papa since May 2011. In her role as KaihaÅ«tu, she provides cultural leadership to the Board, management and staff. She is responsible for upholding Te Papa’s Mana Taonga principle to ensure that its bicultural reputation grows.

While acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) she led approximately 350 staff and 150 casual employees and was responsible for managing the operational and capital budget of approximately $42 million per annum.

As the Acting Business Group Director, she is responsible for generating revenue from the retail, hospitality, publishing and carpark to support Te Papa’s strategy. Ms Hippolite co-commissioned a review of the commercial model.

She has developed international relationships culminating in exhibitions being presented in Europe and North America and the repatriation of kōiwi tangata and toi moko from around the world.

Michelle has held senior roles in the Public Service and wider State sector. A career highlight was providing leadership for the government's and Language Strategy and the establishment of the was Television Service.

As Principal Adviser at the Office of Treaty Settlements, Michelle was instrumental in advancing negotiations in the Far North. She also led changes to cultural redress policies relating to conservation land.

Ms Hippolite currently holds a number of board memberships and directorships. She is the Chair of Te Kura of o Porirua; a member of Te Mana Whakahaere (governing council)of Te Kura o Raukawa; Director, Mangatu Trust and Mangatu Investments Limited; and Director, EMMT Rentals Limited and a board member of Museums Aotearoa. She is also a member of the a Advisory Group to the Victoria University Council and serves as a Public Sector Trustee on the Equal Employment Opportunities (EEO) Trust.

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