Ngā wāhanga tohuAward categories

Te Tohu Ratonga Tūmatanui o AotearoaThe New Zealand Public Service Medal

The New Zealand Public Service Medal is awarded to public servants who have given service that’s worthy of merit.

Medal recipients are people who:

  • demonstrate an outstanding commitment to New Zealand and New Zealanders
  • are exemplary, or a model for other Public Service employees
  • bring significant benefit to New Zealand or the Public Service
  • are exceptional and otherwise worthy of recognition.

The New Zealand Public Service Medal was established by Royal Warrant in 2018 and is part of the New Zealand Royal Honours system.

Te Tohu Amorangi a Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commissioner's Commendation for Excellence

The Public Service Commissioner's Commendation for Excellence is awarded for outstanding spirit of service shown by a public servant. Nominees for this commendation will be those in Public Service delivery roles, such as frontline, operational, policy, corporate, technical or specialist. These people are responsible for the delivery of work rather than its management.

Commendation recipients are people who:

  • demonstrate exceptional care and commitment to New Zealanders, and a ‘higher purpose' motivation
  • demonstrate the highest standard of integrity, kaitiakitanga, and the right attitude
  • generate pride in the Public Service.

Te hoahoa o ngā tohu Award design

Both the Public Service Medal and the Commendation lapel pin carry the design of the Māori Poutama or step design found in Tukutuku wall panels. These allude to the 'stairway to heaven' or in this instance the 'steps of service'.

The basic medal ribbon design is that of the Imperial Service Order (ISO) and associated Imperial Service Medal (ISM) with the addition of narrow white edges. The red or red ochre and white provides a link to the red ochre, like in the ribbon of the Queen's Service Order (QSO) and Queen's Service Medal (QSM). Overall there is a link to the historic distinctive civil or public service honours, the Imperial Service Order and associated Medal.

The Imperial Service Order was essentially a medal for public servants, so it's appropriate that the new medal ribbon is similar. Members of the administrative or clerical branches of the civil service were eligible for appointment to the Order after at least 25 years' meritorious service, if serving in the United Kingdom or 16 years if serving in Commonwealth countries, including New Zealand.

Ngā rā nui2022 dates

  • 11 May: Nominations open
  • 5 August: Nominations close
  • Late August: Selection panel meet
  • Late September: Recipients are notified about recognition
  • 7 November: Recipients are announced on or around Public Service Day, 7 November 2022

Puka tapatanga me ngā aratohuNomination forms and guidelines

The awards are open to any public servant currently employed in the New Zealand Public Service. The Public Service includes departments and departmental agencies listed in Schedule 2 of the Public Service Act 2020 and the Crown agents listed in Part 1 of Schedule 1 of the Crown Entities Act 2004.

Nomination criteria and guidelines are outlined on the nomination forms below. You can submit nominations for these awards between 11 May and 5 August 2022.

Selection panel

Helene Quilter

Helene started her Public Service career as a frontline worker in the Department of Social Welfare. She developed her career in the Department and then in the Ministry of Social Development, where she finished her time as a Deputy Chief Executive in 2006. From 2007 to 2012, Helene was a Deputy Commissioner with the State Services Commission. Helene was appointed Secretary of Defence in 2012 and completed her term of office in June 2019. She was appointed Deputy State Services Commissioner in July 2019. Helene became a companion of the Queen Service Order in 2019. She holds a Masters in Strategic Studies from Victoria University.

Grace Smit

Grace joined Te Puni Kōkiri in 2021, having previously held the roles of Director, Waitangi Tribunal and Director, Māori Land Court at the Ministry of Justice. With more than 20 years’ experience in the Public Service and the wider public sector, Grace has Public Service experience across a broad range of policy, operational and service design areas. Her varied career includes management roles with the Department of Corrections, Coronial Services and in the tertiary education sector.

Debbie Power

Debbie took up her role as Chief Executive, Ministry of Social Development in February 2019. She was previously the Statutory Deputy State Services Commissioner at the State Services Commission. She was also accountable for supporting the Commissioner with chief executive appointments, performance management, and led work to restructure and simplify chief executive remuneration. Debbie started her Public Service career in 1980 as a frontline case manager at the then Department of Social Welfare. Debbie has held a range of senior roles in MSD including Deputy Chief Executive, Service Delivery; Deputy Chief Executive, Office of the Chief Executive; and Regional Commissioner, Northland.

Laulu Mac Leauanae

Laulu is Secretary for Pacific Peoples and Chief Executive of the Ministry for Pacific Peoples. Since he started in the role in July 2017 he has led the development of a bold and unifying vision for Pacific communities in New Zealand, and has secured new investments and Pacific-led initiatives to lift the economic, social and cultural wellbeing of Pacific peoples.

Laulu actively contributes to the public sector’s diversity and inclusion programme and leads Pou Mātāwaka, which aims to eliminate ethnic pay gaps.

In prior roles, he was Chief Executive of the Pacific Cooperation Foundation and the General Manager of Pure Pacifika Limited, a company that exported horticultural products from the South Pacific primarily into Asian markets.

Laulu holds an MBA from Henley Management College, UK, with his dissertation focusing on 'Community Participation in Governance'. He also holds an LLB from Auckland University.

Rachel Hayward

Rachel is the Deputy Secretary of Cabinet (Constitutional and Honours) in the Cabinet Office, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Before joining the Cabinet Office in 2014, Rachel worked as a litigation lawyer in private practice, as a senior legal and policy advisor for the New Zealand Law Commission, and as General Manager (Law Reform) at the New Zealand Law Society. Rachel’s current role includes leading the Honours Unit, which administers a range of honours and awards instituted by The Queen of New Zealand and provides policy advice and support to the Prime Minister on matters related to the New Zealand Royal Honours system.

Kellie Coombes

Kellie is the Secretary for Women and Chief Executive, Te Tumu Whakarae mō te Wahine.

In this role she leads Manatū Wāhine Ministry for Women to uplift and improve outcomes for wāhine in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Prior to this role she was the Deputy Commissioner of System and Agency Performance group and Director, Office of the Head of State Services at Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission. Kellie has a wealth of experience across the public sector, previously holding roles in the Ministry of Social Development and the Department of Labour. She holds an honours degree in Public Policy from Victoria University of Wellington.