E-Update - 30 August 2021

Those of you who follow the IPANZ LinkedIn page will have seen our comment. IPANZ is distressed to see the continual personal criticism of public servants. Scrutiny is vital, very personal attacks which cannot be defended does not have to be part of this scrutiny. Public servants can get caught in the crossfire when commentators attack a government they do not like. This makes public service leadership a tough job.

Shenagh Gleisner, Executive Director


Ivan Kwok Tribute

At the IPANZ conference, Hon Justice Joe Williams will be delivering an address in honour of Ivan Kwok. At Ivan’s tangi people spoke of the huge legacy of this humble public servant. Read a tribute here, written on behalf of Treasury alumni. Ivan brought a set of professional qualities which set an example for his colleagues.

Kaore te kumara e korero mo tona ake reka.

Hōkai Rangi - Partnerships and Engagement with Māori

IPANZ was delighted to welcome a very large crowd of members to listen to Topia Rameka talk about the journey of Ara Poutama Aotearoa (Department of Corrections), including establishing Hōkai Rangi as the whole of organisation strategy. IPANZ is grateful that Topia has made his presentation slides available. There is great depth in these slides and references for you to pursue. It includes how co-design, co-production and co-governance is being pursued. We hope you enjoy this and follow up further on these ideas.

Trusting the Data

With the rapid digital acceleration recently, public servants need to understand what responsible technology looks like to the general public The challenge is to ensure technologies can be designed to protect and promote individual rights as well as the public good.

We encourage you to view this very well-presented slide deck of research produced by DEMOS in the UK. How does this compare with Aotearoa/New Zealand? There are many interesting conclusions. Common data practices are not trusted and potential future uses are often seen as negative. There is consensus in wanting greater control of data, greater transparency and to ensure people are not unfairly excluded. “Trust cannot be retrofitted”.

Limitations to Universal Public Services?

It is nearly 30 years since personal budgets (or individual funding) first appeared in this country. It has scaled up only recently championed by the Ministry of Health in the disability support sector. It is simple - give individuals the money to purchase their own support services. This report is honest about the challenges; it will not work for everyone, it is just one promising way of doing things differently. Its benefits include self-determination, an increased sense of agency and dignity.; people becoming active in determining what they need, not the passive recipients of service that might not fit their lives.

IPANZ is sharing this with you because we know public servants are continually seeking to serve better, and sometimes serving involves stepping right back, trusting and enabling self-determination.

Talking about Mātauranga Maori in a More Respectful and Nuanced Way

"Science" like "mātauranga" can encompass so many ideas that asking "what is mātauranga" is a poor starting point. Parke and Hikuroa point out science has many faces, including methodology, universalism and more, and cannot be so cleanly defined, much like mātauranga. The concept itself spans Māori knowledge, culture, values and worldview, which could include scientific methodology, viewpoint of the world, intersectionality and more. Their advice is that when discussing "what is mātauranga", first slow down and consider the difficulty in explaining such a concept, pausing to respect another audience's point of view, and being more careful with our words. A thoughtful article published in The Conversation.

Public Servants Balancing Multiple Demands

IPANZ thinks of the massive workload for public servants each and every day in the last week with additional demands in all parts of the sector. At the same time, they must keep all the business as usual going; a big burden, willingly carried.

On top of these there are significant efforts from so many public servants and others to refresh and renew the way things are done. This brief two minute “picture” presented by the Centre for Social Impact illustrates this inspiring work.

Kia kaha, kia maia, kia manawanui.

Find out more about H2R here


The IPANZ Public Sector Conference will now be held on November 12th. Same time, same place and same programme! Yes, we have already had confirmation from very nearly all of the speakers that this date works for them. And an even better room set-up at Te Papa. All people registered have been contacted by Amy, our conference organiser, and we hope every single one of you can still come!

We remain committed to an in-person event, connections, networking and the buzz of it all seems to really matter to people. We made our decision to postpone early enough to ensure we could secure the venue in November.

We will keep you fully informed as time goes on. We still have a waiting list and we will do our best to accommodate as many of you if we can. We will still have a livestreaming out to the regions, and hopefully with hubs where you can meet on the day.

No reiera, tenei te mihi aroha ki a koutou katoa

Find out more about The Johnson Group here


It was a delight to read in the Guardian this amusing piece written by Max Rashbrooke in response to some rather extraordinary commentary in the UK media about New Zealand. A bit of light relief, thanks Max.

IPANZ is continually struck by the negativity, hatred, and distortions that swirls around social media, and obviously mainstream media too.

We appreciate that, in our own lives, we sometimes make a mistake, or we do not do things as perfectly as we ideally should, especially when we are under enormous pressure. It seems a few people cannot apply this generosity and realism to the people doing their utmost to lead through this highly complex, uncharted territory.


If you found this e-update useful, please share it with your friends and colleagues. We're always looking to reach more people with our news, events and insights. If you have friends and colleagues in Christchurch and Auckland, we would be particularly happy to hear from them.

And if you've received this e-update indirectly and would like to sign up to our mailing list, please email us at admin@ipanz.org.nz