Above and beyond for Aotearoa: six NZ public servants receive the ‘mana and prestige’ of PSMs


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Six of New Zealand’s best public servants have been recognised for their work with the nation’s newest official honour, the Public Service Medal.

The work of public servants is rarely acknowledged, according to State Services Minister Chris Hipkins. The new medals and commendations, introduced last year, are awarded as part of Public Service Day on November 7.

“Some of the greatest contributions of public servants are not always obvious to the public,” Hipkins said.

“This medal honours those public servants who go above and beyond what is expected to serve the people of New Zealand.”

While the nation’s current Royal Honours system recognises particular categories of state servants, such as those in the armed forces and uniformed services, there was no exclusive award for “core” public servants until last year. The Public Service Medal was established as part of a range of changes to modernise the NZ public service, roughly matching the PSMs that Australians have been receiving since 1989.

“The Public Service Medal carries mana and prestige and is rightfully now part of the New Zealand Honours system,” Hipkins added.

The State Services Commission describes the contributions to NZ made by the six recipients of this year’s Public Service Medals.

Kaye MacDonald, Regional Manager at the Upper South Island office of Oranga Tamariki (the Ministry for Children), has worked in the challenging area of child protection for nearly 30 years. 

John Henderson, Regional Commissioner at the Ministry of Social Development, has supported New Zealanders through social services for 41 years, including after some of the nation’s biggest tragedies and disasters.

Maree Hayes, Court Services Manager (Criminal) at the Invercargill High and District Courts, has worked for the Ministry of Justice and was recognised for “making sure justice is accessible and everyone is treated with dignity and respect”.

Dr Craig Trotter, Principal Adviser to the Ministry for Primary Industries, made his mark by developing evidence-based policies to address climate change.  

Diane Fenika, Director of Regional Partnerships (Southern) at the Ministry for Pacific Peoples, has worked in the public sector for 19 years and was recognised for her work with South Pacific Island communities.

Mabel Flight, Residential Manager of Tongariro Prison, was recognised as “an exemplar of frontline excellence” in her role with the Department of Corrections.

Ten public servants also received the State Services Commissioner’s Commendation for Frontline Excellence:

Luke Stenner works to protect and preserve NZ heritage as Adviser, Te Pae Māpuna, at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

Brittnee O’Brien, National Limited Service Volunteer Coordinator at the Ministry of Social Development, works to get young people into employment.

Maxwell Broadfoot, Custom Service Liaison Officer with the New Zealand Customs Service, is committed to stopping illegal and harmful substances crossing the border. 

Robert Anderson, is focused on road safety as Principal Adviser, Governance and Commercial, at the Ministry of Transport.

Rochelle Bouterey makes sure businesses are paying their fair share of tax as a Customer Compliance Specialist with Inland Revenue.

Tiana Timoteo and Jacqui Karena were jointly recognised for their work supporting people through traumatic family circumstances as Case Managers at the Ministry of Social Development. 

Georgina Delamere and Penni Gray contribute to community safety as Probation Officers at the Department of Corrections.

Firoza Shaikh, an Assistant Service Centre Manager at the Ministry of Social Development, was recognised for her role in community support after the Christchurch mosque attacks.

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