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Source: New Zealand Governor General

Nau mai, haere mai ra ki Te Whare Kāwana o Te Whanganui-a-Tara.

Kia ora tātou katoa.

I specifically acknowledge:

  • Peter Hughes, Public Service Commissioner
  • Rebecca Kitteridge, Chief Executive of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
  • Heather Baggott, Deputy Public Service Commissioner
  • Gaye Searancke, Deputy Public Service Commissioner
  • Kura Morehu, Kaihautu

My very warmest welcome to the 24 recipients of the Public Service Medal – as well as to your friends and whānau, whose manaakitanga has guided and supported you along your public service journey.

Te Puea Herangi once said: ‘Mahia te mahi hei painga mo te iwi. Do the work for the betterment of the people.’ I was fortunate to learn something of that ethos early in life. As a child, I lived with my grandmother – a Justice of the Peace and a Māori Warden – who was motivated to contribute wherever she could to the wellbeing of her community. That sense of public good has stayed with me throughout my career – as a researcher, academic, and in my public roles, including of course as Governor-General.

We’re fortunate in New Zealand that some of our very best minds choose to pursue a career in the public service. Over the years, I’ve been lucky to work with a number of such brilliant and dedicated people. Whatever their goals – whether to achieve particular operational outcomes, to provide sound policy advice, or to contribute to the administration of government – they all shared a desire to improve the lives of their fellow New Zealanders.

Public servants carry a responsibility to act in the best interests of their fellow citizens – to serve them diligently, with honesty, integrity, and professionalism.

I know that your work is not always well understood or appreciated – which is why I am greatly supportive of Public Service Day, and why I am delighted to host this event, where meritorious public service can be duly acknowledged and celebrated. 

The New Zealand Public Service Medal – Te Tohu Ratonga Tūmatanui – was established by Royal Warrant, and approved by Queen Elizabeth II. In my role as His Majesty King Charles’ representative in New Zealand, it is my privilege to be presenting these medals on his behalf.

On his accession to the throne, King Charles echoed his late mother’s vow to serve rather than be served. That purpose is widely shared by the individuals in our public service.

To the Public Service Medal recipients for 2023 – my sincerest thanks and warmest congratulations. This is your night. Your commitment and leadership have added to the standing of this country and its public service.

To echo my words to all recipients of Royal New Zealand Honours – I urge you to wear your insignia with pride, at every opportunity, knowing that you inspire others by your example.

Thank you once again for all that your do for Aotearoa New Zealand – and for contributing to a public service that all New Zealanders can justly be proud of.

Kia ora huihui tātou katoa.

More photos from this event can be found here: Te Rā Ratonga Tūmatanui, Public Service Day Awards.