The Public Service is committed to a more joined-up government across the regions to help deliver better outcomes and services for New Zealanders.

Working as a unified Public Service is central to our ability to collectively achieve better wellbeing outcomes for New Zealanders. Connecting the Public Service across the regions ensures we are acting collaboratively around communities’ needs and strengths. 

Secretary for Social Development Debbie Power is the System lead for the regions.

Ngā Pou Kōtui-a-rohe o Te Ratonga TūmatanuiRegional Public Service Commissioners

The Regional Public Service Commissioners with the Public Service Commissioner, standing in a line.

Regional Public Service Commissioners strengthen regional system leadership by working to coordinate and align central government decision makers.
They are focused on the planning and delivery of wellbeing outcomes in their regions, and ensuring there is regional alignment and national level input where needed to achieve outcomes for communities. They also support the system and system leaders to work cohesively and credibly with local government iwi, Māori organisations, NGOs and regional stakeholders. 

Regional Public Service Commissioners with their Spirit of Service award

The impact of a unified regional Public Service was seen in the collective response to COVID-19, known as Caring for Communities. Successful delivery of locally led responses under the Covid Protection Framework required considerable coordination of efforts and resources.

The Regional Public Service Commissioners were instrumental in activating action and coordination of resources across the system and demonstrated the value of a locally led, regionally enabled approach to a nationwide issue. In light of COVID-19, the Regional Public Service Commissioners will continue to work to enable government in the regions to contribute to delivering better wellbeing outcomes with a long-term view to the future.

Eleven Regional Public Service Commissioners have been appointed across New Zealand to cover 15 regions. Click on the accordion below to see more information about each Commissioner.

Eru Lyndon
Te Taitokerau

Jules Lynch
Tāmaki Makaurau

Te Rehia Papesch
Waikato

Ezra Schuster
Bay of Plenty, Waiariki

Gloria Campbell
Taranaki

Karen Bartlett
Te Tairāwhiti, Hawke’s Bay

Blair McKenzie
Manawatu–Whanganui

Roy Sye
Greater Wellington

Craig Churchill
Marlborough, Nelson/Tasman, West Coast

Ben Clark
Canterbury, Chatham Islands

Steph Voight
Southland, Otago

 
  • Eru Lyndon, Te Taitokerau, Te Pou Kōtui ā-Rohe o Te Ratonga Tūmatanui | Regional Public Service Commissioner

    Pourongomau o Ngā Tatau Pounamu — DCE Te Tiriti Reconciliation, Te Arawhiti

    Eru Lyndon is of Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Whātua, Ngāti Wai, and Ngāti Toa descent. He has led many multi-stakeholder leadership groups, including the Te Hiku Iwi Social Accord and He Poutama Taitamariki — both of which have been finalists for Te Hāpai Hapori | Spirit of Service Awards.

    Eru holds a Bachelor of Laws degree, an MBA (dist. and valedictorian), was a recipient of a Leadership Development Centre Fellowship, and has completed executive programmes at IMD (Switzerland), Stanford (US) and MIT (US).

    “As an uri (member) of the many iwi of Te Taitokerau, inherently I feel a connection to the kaupapa that have been handed down by my forebears. Concepts like mana, tapu, whakapapa, and whenua are weaved through the work that I am involved with and lead. This understanding is reflected in the roles that Tangata Whenua and Tangata Tiriti are playing in the strategies of the region.” 

  • Jules Lynch, Tāmaki Makaurau, Te Pou Kōtui ā-Rohe o Te Ratonga Tūmatanui | Regional Public Service Commissioner

    Ministry of Social Development Regional Commissioner Auckland South

     

    Ko Te Arawa me Tainui ngā waka,
    Ko Tongariro te maunga,
    Ko Taupō te moana,
    Ko Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Waikato-Tainui me Ngāti Maniapoto ngā iwi

    Jules has had wide-ranging experience over 2 decades with Ngā Pirihimana Aotearoa New Zealand Police in various operational capacities, including:

     

    • general duties, criminal investigation branch, a role in youth and community services in Mangere
    • District Manager Road Policing, Area Commander, Counties Manukau
    • Principal Strategic Advisor to Assistant Commissioner Districts.

    “Every day around Tāmaki Makaurau and Aotearoa, public servants are doing great work to make a difference for New Zealand and New Zealanders. Their contribution is many and varied. There are lots of opportunities to work in partnership with communities, iwi, agencies, and other providers to enable us as a region to be more responsive to whānau needs.” 

  • Te Rehia Papesch, Waikato, Te Pou Kōtui ā-Rohe o Te Ratonga Tūmatanui | Regional Public Service Commissioner

    Ministry of Social Development Regional Commissioner

    Ko Pirongia te maunga
    Ko Waipā te awa
    Ko Tainui te waka
    Ko Pūrekireki te marae

    Waikato taniwharau
    He piko, he taniwha
    He piko, he taniwha

    Te Rehia has been Regional Commissioner for the Ministry of Social Development for more than 24 years. She co-chairs the Caring for Communities Oversight Committee and Regional Leadership Group, led MSD’s response to COVID-19 in the Waikato, and has been involved with the Waikato Regional Housing Initiative, Waikato Wellbeing Project, and many community boards and committees.

    Te Rehia is Secretary/Treasurer of Hui Te Rangiora Catholic Marae Incorporated. She was Chair of Taiohi Toa, a charitable trust with the Hamilton Police working to reduce youth offending.

    Te Rehia was privileged to be awarded the Queens Service Medal (QSM) in June 2021 for services to the community and Public Service.

    “Our public servants are at the heart of everything! They are a focused, committed and passionate group of people, who want to make a difference to the whānau and communities we serve. These whānau are facing some of the biggest challenges they’ve ever had to confront, and it’s the work of our Public Service to help them navigate such difficult times.” 

  • Ezra Schuster, Bay of Plenty, Waiariki, Te Pou Kōtui ā-Rohe o Te Ratonga Tūmatanui | Regional Public Service Commissioner

    Ministry of Health Group Manager Cross-Government

    Ezra has always been passionate about community development and social justice. This came from his upbringing and living in a tight-knit Samoan Catholic community in his hometown of Mangere, South Auckland. It was those core values of tautua (service), fa’aaloalo (respect) and alofa (love) that inspired him to become a youth worker, moving onto community development, education and now health.

    Ezra is a proud Aotearoa New Zealand-born Samoan and hails from the villages of Faleapuna, Fogapoa (Safotulafai) and Matautu (Lefaga). He is an even prouder dad of 5 school-aged children and husband to his wife Rachel, who is a school counsellor.

    “We are trying to ‘flip the traditional script’ in our rohe. Our senior regional leadership forums are chaired by iwi, and we see ourselves as public servants to be firmly in an enabling and supporting role. We are starting to see ourselves as the harbour, which exists to support the waka (Iwi). We are not there to guide or drive the journey — that is for the waka to do.” 

  • Gloria Campbell, Taranaki, Te Pou Kōtui ā-Rohe o Te Ratonga Tūmatanui | Regional Public Service Commissioner

    Ministry of Social Development Regional Commissioner

    Gloria began her Public Service career in 1978 and has worked in the social service sector ever since. Her current role is Regional Commissioner for the Ministry of Social Development for Taranaki, King Country and Whanganui.

    Gloria was appointed as the Regional Public Service Lead in August 2019 and became the Commissioner in 2021. She has a deep understanding of Taranaki and the region’s challenges. She recognises that meaningful work contributes to strong and more resilient communities. Privately, Gloria is passionate about the feathered kiwis and is involved with the Taranaki Kiwi Trust. She spends her weekends in the bush checking traps and watching kiwi that roam the forestry block in east Taranaki she owns with her husband.

    “Many of us have intergenerational links to this beautiful and unique region.  We are united in our passion to see Taranaki become an equitable and prosperous region.  Having an effective robust group of iwi, public servants and regional leaders who have relationships across the diversity of our population, we connect to the issues at the top of our communities minds.  We have the commitment and passion to enable solutions that lead to better outcomes for all.” 

  • Karen Bartlett, Te Tairāwhiti, Hawke’s Bay, Te Pou Kōtui ā-Rohe o Te Ratonga Tūmatanui | Regional Public Service Commissioner

    Ministry of Social Development Regional Commissioner (Interim)

    Karen is an experienced public servant, most recently working as the Regional Commissioner for the Ministry of Social Development East Coast and Regional Public Service Commissioner East Coast Region (Hawkes Bay and Tairawhiti).

    Her roles involve working with others, both strategically and operationally on aligned priorities to deliver results with whanau, iwi/ Māori, and the communities of the East Coast region. She is also a daughter, wife, and mother — and granny to 4 mokopuna — which guides her strong wish to see every mokopuna, whānau and kaumatua live well.

    “The Public Service in the East Coast region is well linked at a leadership level, and our teams work together cooperatively. While COVID-19 has been a significant challenge, the learnings gained reinforced the understanding that we are at our best when we work together to enable communities to lead engagement with whānau.” 

  • Blair McKenzie, Manawatu–Whanganui, Te Pou Kōtui ā-Rohe o Te Ratonga Tūmatanui | Regional Public Service Commissioner

    Ministry of Social Development Regional Commissioner

    Blair is an experienced Public Service leader, having held senior strategic leadership roles throughout Aotearoa New Zealand in a national and regional operational capacity. His regional Public Service leadership role follows extensive experience serving New Zealanders at the Ministry of Social Development and Oranga Tamariki.

    With a Master’s in Public Service Administration and Executive Fellowship opportunities focused on community leadership, Blair calls on his extensive experience and the joint commitment of local regional Public Service leaders, teaming up with Iwi and local communities.

    With people at the heart of what we do, the following Māori proverb describes our joint local Public Service leader’s emphasis across Manawatu–Whanganui.

    He aha te mea nui o te ao
    What is the most important thing in the world?
    He tangata, he tangata, he tangata
    It is the people, it is the people, it is the people

  • Roy Sye, Greater Wellington, Te Pou Kōtui ā-Rohe o Te Ratonga Tūmatanui | Regional Public Service Commissioner

    Ministry of Education Regional Director

    Roy’s background includes time working in the education sector as a teacher and school principal, positions on various boards, as an elected city councillor, running 2 successful businesses and as a Justice of the Peace for over 20 years.

    Roy served as Director of Education for the Ministry of Education for both the Hawke’s Bay/Tairāwhiti region and then Greater Wellington. He views his position as the Regional Public Service Commissioner for Greater Wellington as a hugely demanding yet rewarding role — one that is only possible with the active support of his fellow regional colleagues.

    “What has become clear is that our communities already have many of the solutions to achieve better outcomes but system structures, policy settings and a lack of agency collaboration often make doing what’s right a challenge. As part of our joined-up Public Service mahi, we want to address this challenge by strengthening our internal partnerships, building a shared understanding, and creating cross-agency efficiencies to better support our regional communities.”

  • Craig Churchill, Marlborough, Nelson/Tasman, West Coast, Te Pou Kōtui ā-Rohe o Te Ratonga Tūmatanui | Regional Public Service Commissioner

    Ministry of Social Development Regional Commissioner

    Craig enjoyed a 30-year career in the transport and logistics industry. He has lived in various centres around the country and taken up a variety of senior operational, sales, general management and business leadership roles in the field.

    Given his private sector work history, Craig is a relative newcomer to the Public Service. He brings with him experience in creating solutions, proactive thinking, strategic partnerships and collaborative problem-solving.

    Outside of his role as Regional Public Service Commissioner, Craig is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport and Leadership New Zealand, and a member of the New Zealand Institute of Directors.

    “What stands out about the region, along with its unique natural environments and diverse communities, is the connectedness of our tangata and their willingness to work together, co-operating to form local solutions. This extends to the Public Service, which is joined up and working in partnership in the region with iwi, local government, economic and community leaders on supporting our communities.” 

  • Ben Clark, Canterbury, Chatham Islands, Te Pou Kōtui ā-Rohe o Te Ratonga Tūmatanui | Regional Public Service Commissioner

    Department of Corrections Regional Director

    Ben started his career as a forensic psychologist in the Prison Service in England where he was mainly involved in the rehabilitation of prisoners and advising parole board and court decisions. After attaining a Masters in Criminology, Ben moved into a role as an Inspector with HM Inspector of Probation and was part of the multi-agency review teams established to assess Youth Offending Teams. Ben moved to Aotearoa with his partner and young family in 2009.

    Ben has always been interested in why we humans think and act in the way that we do. His role as Regional Public Service Commissioner has given him many great opportunities to see the wide range of work being done in our communities to help those less able to help themselves.

    “The Public Service is proactive in seeking input into priorities that sit across our rural and urban areas. This includes bringing agencies together — in particular where they may have important levers and perspectives relevant to the issues that matter to the community.” 

    Note: Ben is currently seconded to the role of Acting National Commissioner Ara Poutama until September 2022. Diane McDermott is the Acting Regional Public Service Commissioner.

  • Steph Voight, Southland, Otago, Te Pou Kōtui ā-Rohe o Te Ratonga Tūmatanui | Regional Public Service Commissioner

    Ministry of Social Development Regional Commissioner (Interim)

    Steph is a proud Southerner, growing up in the small tāone of Kurow and now living in Ōtepoti.

    After graduating with a BA in Political Studies from the University of Otago, Steph moved to Wellington, where she joined Te Manatū Whakahiato Ora | Ministry of Social Development in the Kilbirnie Service Centre. This gave her true insight into MSD’s core role serving our whānau and hapori across the motu.

    She has held various leadership roles in the Southern and Wellington Regions, as well as MSD’s National Office — and has also been supported to gain an Executive Masters in Public Administration from Australia New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG).

    Steph left MSD in 2019 to take up the role of Manager Justice Services at Te Tāhū o te Tūre | Ministry of Justice in Otago and South Canterbury. Working across the Justice Sector, supporting our judiciary and enabling greater access to justice in our hapori expanded her mind and passion for the spirit of Public Service even more.

    “The aronga of Te Manatū Whakahiato Ora and its values of manaaki, mahi tahi, whānau and tika me te pono resonate strongly with me personally and the RPSC kaupapa. I am committed to supporting our Māori hapori and cementing kotahitanga across Otago and Murihiku Southland and have a passion for growing the talent of our rangatahi to support kaitiakitanga.”