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.
Ngā Pou Kōtui-a-rohe o Te Ratonga Tūmatanui Regional Public Service Commissioners
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.
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.
Twelve 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, 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.”
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, Hawke’s Bay, Te Pou Kōtui ā-Rohe o Te Ratonga Tūmatanui | Regional Public Service Commissioner
Ministry of Social Development Regional Commissioner
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.”
Darlene Rastrick, Manawatu–Whanganui, Te Pou Kōtui ā-Rohe o Te Ratonga Tūmatanui | Regional Public Service Commissioner
Ministry of Social Development Director Client Service Delivery
He uri no Te Atihaunui-a-paparangi me Ngati Tane, Ngati Varu, me Ngati Manaune ki Mangaia o ngā Kuki Airani ngā Iwi.
Darlene is a proud Cook Island Māori wahine born and raised in the mighty Manawatu.
Darlene is passionate about better life outcomes for iwi, hapu and whānau. With over two decades of experience in the public sector, having held various roles within the Ministry of Social Development, where she has made significant contributions through strategies and initiatives aimed at improving the lives of New Zealanders. Darlene was appointed as the interim Regional Public Service Commissioner for Manawatu-Whanganui in February 2023.
Darlene's appointment as the acting Commissioner speaks to her direction, governance, and unwavering commitment to the public service and hapori across her role.
“As tangata whenua and tangata moana I am deeply committed to seeing better outcomes for people through a unified public service who are collaborating effectively across the system. If we can break down barriers for our communities we can achieve great things through partnering and supporting those who need our help the most."
Naomi Whitewood, Te Tairāwhiti, Te Pou Kōtui ā-Rohe o Te Ratonga Tūmatanui | Regional Public Service Commissioner
Kainga Ora Regional Director East North Island
Tena koutou katoa
He uri whakaheke tēnei o Ngati Porou me Ngapuhi
I te taha o toku mama ko Te Whanau a Ruataupare me Te Whanau a Te Ao Tawarirangi
I te taha o toku papa ko Ngati Kura, Ngati Kawau ko Ngatikahu ki Whangaroa hoki
Kei Turanga au e noho ana
Ko Naomi Whitewood toku ingoa
Kei te mihi kei te mihi kei te mihi
Naomi has extensive experience in the public sector as well as holding a range of governance roles across other sectors. She relates her career in the Public Service to leaders in her personal life which involve her late grandmother, her mother and significant others like the late Parekura Horomia and other Ngati Porou wahine like Mere Pohatu, Apryll Parata and the late Annie Aranui.
Her commitment to driving positive change, particularly for whānau and mokopuna and contributing to outcomes for Māori reflects her reputation as a leader throughout her roles in government.
With a background in leadership and system transformation, Naomi has played a role in shaping public policy in Aotearoa. Naomi currently serves as the Regional Director for Kāinga Ora (East North Island), and has helped to deliver improvements in a range of areas including: health, whanau ora, sport and recreation, child wellbeing, social welfare and currently the housing and development sector.
Recently, Naomi was appointed as the new Regional Public Service Deputy Commissioner for Te Tairāwhiti. Her strong leadership skills, her passion and commitment for the Public Service will be invaluable in Te Tairāwhiti. Naomi aims to deliver the best possible outcomes for her community as she begins her role in this region.
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.”
Steph Voight, Southland, Otago, Te Pou Kōtui ā-Rohe o Te Ratonga Tūmatanui | Regional Public Service Commissioner
Ministry of Social Development Regional Commissioner
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.”
Tracey Smith, Waikato, Te Pou Kōtui ā-Rohe o Te Ratonga Tūmatanui | Regional Public Service Commissioner
Tracey is a dedicated individual with a passion for empowering people to achieve their full potential. With years of experience in the public service, she has a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities that come with serving the public.
Throughout her career, Tracey has been committed to developing and growing people, helping them achieve their personal and professional goals. Her extensive experience has given her a unique perspective on the importance of effective leadership and the critical role it plays in driving success.
Tracey has served as acting Chief Executive Officer of the Pacific Business Trust, and has previous experience being a Regional Commissioner, for Auckland Northwest. In these roles, she demonstrated her ability to build strong relationships with community, business leaders, iwi groups and other stakeholders to drive positive change.
She has begun her new role as the Regional Public Service Commissioner for the Waikato Region. With her strong strategic insight and energy, she will bring an enduring presence to her region.
“It is a privilege to lead across the Public Service to enable a joined-up approach to achieve greater outcomes for all New Zealanders. With a region full of cultural richness and diversity we are committed and passionate about working collectively to form local solutions for our whanau and communities.”