Tō Mātou āheitanga Our Capability

Spirit of Service

He tāngata, our people, are at the heart of what we do. We recognise and celebrate the success through our annual He Iti Kahurangi Awards, which focus on the contributions of our people and the great work they do every day to make New Zealand better for New Zealanders. The award categories reflect our culture and model our Spirit of Service, mātāpono and our principles and behaviours. We also recognise commitment and achievement in improving health, safety and wellbeing in our workplace and people who have contributed through long service.

We have been named as a ‘mover and shaker’ in the 2020 Colmar Brunton Public Sector Reputation Index, a ranking of 54 Government agencies. We have moved from 41st of 50 agencies in 2019, to 24th of 50 agencies in 2020 with a reputation score of 101, classed as above average. We’ve seen success with several campaigns including the public awareness campaign to help create safer online experiences for children and young people, which is included as a case study in our COVID-19 section – ‘Keep It Real Online’.

Wellbeing, health and safety governance

Te Tari Taiwhenua is committed to providing and maintaining a safe and healthy workplace for its people, customers and visitors, and anyone using our sites as a place of work.

We have a unique and diverse range of health, safety and wellbeing risks. These risks include violence and aggression, psychosocial risks, hazardous substances, lone or remote work, Lake Taupō, buildings, equipment and plant, driving, third-party vendors and COVID-19.

Looking after our people and their wellbeing is a top priority. The Executive Leadership Team govern health, safety and wellbeing through quarterly governance board meetings. The National Health and Safety Committee and Branch Health and Safety Committees are active in engaging with people and ensuring that health and safety is considered at all levels of our mahi.

Key work undertaken this year has included:

  • lifting our capability in managing the mental health and wellness of our people, including establishing a baseline wellbeing assessment, creating new resources to support our people during COVID-19, resilience training, and 1-2-1 professional coaching managers through our partnership with Umbrella
  • improving the safety of our fleet including the purchase of ANCAP 5-star safety-rated vehicles and a move to replace old fleet with electric and hybrid vehicles
  • reviewing the Department’s unacceptable behaviour policies and processes
  • reviewing owned and leased sites identified to ensure there is an asbestos management plan in place, and developing a Department asbestos management policy.

SafePlus review

We also completed a review of our health and safety programme against the SafePlus performance tool developed by WorkSafe New Zealand, ACC and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. SafePlus offers a Government endorsed model of what 'good' health and safety looks like. It supports organisations to understand their current practices and initiate positive change.

In response to the review we have funded a two-year work programme to lift our health and safety capability. This programme will focus on empowering our people to play a more active role in health and safety initiatives, lifting governance and leadership capabilities of our leaders, and managing our health and safety risks more effectively.

Incidents and hazards

The chart below shows the breakdown of incidents and hazards for 2019/20.

Incidents and hazards for 2019/20 Incidents and hazards for 2019/20

The cause of incidents is reported in the following chart:

Top mechanisms of incidents FY 2019-2020 Top mechanisms of incidents FY 2019-2020

‘Muscular stress and repetition injury’ is the most frequently reported cause of an incident. This spiked during COVID-19 lockdown, with people trying to work from home with inadequate set ups or without the right equipment. We identified this risk early in lockdown and were able to successfully address most issues within the first month. Our experience during this time helped us understand what practical measures need to be in place to support our people working from home or other locations as part of our ways of working.

The Department’s lost time totalled 182 working days; this was mainly as a result of a serious injury accident to a staff member from the previous year. There were 35 ACC claims during the 2019/20 period. Although there were more claims than 2018-19 (23), they were the result of minor injuries, mostly ergonomic related and resulted in a $11.1k cost to ACC.

Inclusion and diversity

Tier 2 and 3 People Leaders as at 30 June 2020 Tier 2 and 3 People Leaders as at 30 June 2020

The Department has a wide-ranging portfolio. Our diverse customers are at the heart of what we do, and we reflect, value and embrace this across our workforce by supporting inclusive and equitable work practices. We aim to have a positive and inclusive culture where people are treated with dignity and respect, we value our differences and harness the capabilities that diversity brings.

In 2020, we have been shortlisted in the Cultural Celebration category of the Diversity Awards. These awards recognise organisations which champion diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

We support diversity within the Department through our Authentic Self Network (LGBTQI+), Tangata Whenua network(s), Taha Moana Pacific Network, and Women’s Network. Our people are encouraged to participate in building their diversity capability through Te Reo workshops, our Leo o te Pasifika programme (celebrating the languages of Pacific peoples) and taking part in New Zealand Sign Language Week. In August 2019, we held our Taha Moana National Pacific Fono for our Pasifika whānau to collaborate and discuss championing and strengthening Te Ara Vaka our Pacific Strategy, which was a great success.

We continue to address and reduce our gender pay gap. Over the last year the average salary of Māori employees has increased by four per cent and Pacific employees by eight per cent, but we note that we have more work to do on Pasifika salaries, especially for Pasifika women.

We have refreshed our Gender Pay Gap Action Plan engaging with our people and unions. We continue to focus on addressing any pay gaps in like-for-like jobs, improving recruitment and selection processes and ensuring there are no gaps in starting salaries. Existing gender diversity in governance and management roles gives us a good platform to build upon; and we are proud to have women representing over half of our Executive Leadership Team. We are developing resources that make flexible working arrangements a part of how we work, while our people and teams continue to serve and deliver for New Zealanders.

Growing great talent for our future workforce

All our people have talent and potential. We are committed to providing all our people with opportunities to build on their talents and to grow their capabilities. We continue to run Te Hunga Kōhuri, our Core Leadership Programme, Te Kurutao, our Māori Leadership Programme, and this year piloted Avei’a, our Pacific Leadership and Development Programme.

Te Kurutao builds Māori capability and capacity within the Department, by providing our Māori employees the opportunity to develop their leadership potential in a cultural context. The programme is based on Mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) with elements of existing leadership programmes within the Department, however its delivery is holistic in its approach and guided by Tikanga Māori values and philosophies.

Launch of Avei’a

Avei’a is our Service Delivery and Operations branch’s Pacific Leadership Programme, which was launched in January 2020. Avei’a supports our Pasifika people to learn, reconnect and strengthen their ties to their Pacific culture, heritage and whakapapa. It provides the opportunity to recognise and develop their leadership potential to lead and drive guided by values and cultural practices.

The programme uses a canoe framework comprising of five parts each representing an element of leadership, that draws on participants' own experiences, values and self-reflection as well as providing the tools needed to embark on their own journey. The Cohort is made up of 15 Pacific staff from across the Department. The 6-month programme is delivered using a variety of online and face-to-face methods, and despite COVID-19 presenting some challenges for the Cohort and the wider Avei’a team, sessions were able to be continued via Zoom. Avei’a is a Tahitian word that describes the star path used by navigators to help them reach their destination.

Aveia Marae
SLC pink shirt day 2019

The Department’s Senior Leadership Cohort supporting 2019 Pink Shirt Day


Wellbeing at Our Place – Tō Tātou Rohe

In September 2019, we established a partnership with Umbrella – a professional group of clinical, registered psychologists specialising in wellness and resilience training to enable high-performing workplaces. In consultation with Umbrella, our Wellbeing at Tō Tatou Rohe (Our Place) programme was developed to strengthen the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of our people.