“It’s important that these awards continue to recognise innovation”, were the words of Bill English in a video message to the Deloitte IPANZ Public Sector Excellence Awards 2017.
If one thing is true, there is huge diversity in the New Zealand public sector. From police community safety patrols at one end, to the transformation of Radio New Zealand at the other. Among all the representatives gathered around the tables, innovation was not in short supply. And importantly, all finalists had made a real difference in New Zealand.
Skills were very proud to have sponsored one of the awards – the Young Professional of the Year 2017 Award. We were there on the night to recognise the achievements of all the finalists and winners, and learn from their great work.
John Larkindale, president of IPANZ, opened the event by saying “we are very proud of what we’ve been able to put together”, a sentiment seconded by Deloitte as lead sponsor who emphasised the core message by saying “We hope to shine a light on the important issues affecting everyday kiwis”.
Of the many amazing projects, the overall winner of the prestigious Prime Minister’s Award for Public Sector Excellence - and also the winner of the Crown – Maori Relationships Award - was the Department of Conservation and Te Uru Taumatua, for their Te Urewera – DOC Tūhoe Partnership. Their work implemented ground-breaking new legislation which granted Te Urewera legal personhood. The area of over 2,000 square kilometres now has the same rights and powers as a citizen, setting a new precedent for conservation in the world. As one of the recipients mentioned, “We are making history here in New Zealand”.
Other standout winners included the SmartStart app, which was created jointly by the Department of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Social Development, Inland Revenue, and the Ministry of Health. The app is an easy platform for new parents to find relevant government services information (51 of them in one place).
Adele McLean, Skills’ own Industry Manager for the Public Sector, was also representing as a judge at this years’ awards. In her words: “The calibre of the entries we reviewed was just amazing. Some of the projects had shown an ingenious way of approaching a difficult task or topic. It was great to see, and shows the importance of the awards in recognising these achievements.
As the proud sponsor of the Young Professional of the Year Award for the past several years, Stephen Waters from Skills was pleased to present it to Genevieve Rainey from the Department of Conservation for 2017. Just as much as the experienced professionals in the room, those who are younger and newer to the public sector deserve praise for making a difference. Skills congratulates all the finalists this year – Sam Thornton from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and Simon Sanders from the Ministry of Education.
During her two years at DoC, Genevieve has made a huge impact as an in-house solicitor. She’s been involved in winning a huge number of cases, and designed and implemented a new legal compliance audit system, among other things. Her reward is a one week scholarship to the prestigious Mt. Eliza Business School in Melbourne. As her entry states “Genevieve is an absolute star”. Skills wishes her the best of luck for the future and hope that this leads to many more great things.