Public Service Act 2020

A Spirit of Service is identified by the Public Service Act 2020 as the fundamental characteristic of the Public Service. The Act requires Public Service leaders and boards of Crown agents to preserve, protect and nurture the Spirit of Service to the community that all public servants bring to their work.

A Spirit of Service has 3 important attributes:

  • opening our hearts and minds to the needs of others
  • an attitude of humility
  • being motivated by something bigger than ourselves.

People sign up to the Public Service because they want to make a difference for New Zealanders.

Peter Hughes Public Service Commissioner

Te Rā Ratonga Tūmatanui Public Service Day

The date of assent for New Zealand’s first Public Service Act (1912) was 7 November 1912. Since 2018, New Zealand Public Service Day has been celebrated each year on or around this date.

Public Service Day gives us an opportunity to reflect on what it means to serve the public, what makes being a public servant so rewarding, and to celebrate being part of the Public Service.

Agencies are welcome to use the resources we have developed, to acknowledge and celebrate the work of public servants. The following resources can be downloaded: 


Te whakawhiwhi tohu Awards and recognition

In 2018, New Zealand public service chief executives established the Awards and Recognition programme to promote a sense of pride and belonging across the Public Service. The programme recognises public servants and initiatives that exemplify the spirit of service and demonstrate an outstanding commitment to New Zealand.

Whakapā mai Contact us

The Spirit of Service team is available to assist with any queries you have regarding Public Service awards and recognition. We engage with key contacts at each government agency throughout the year about the awards programme. Please contact us if you have any questions.

Email us