Government Women's Network Te Aka Wāhine o Aotearoa began from small but passionate beginnings in 2014 and I have had the privilege to serve as Chair of the GWN Governance Group since 2018.

Since then, many women's networks have formed within the public sector, including cross-agency regional networks in Auckland and Christchurch. Together, they have positively supported women, influenced their agencies and raised awareness about issues and challenges faced by women.

These networks – and the new ones that are forming even now – will ultimately help us realise GWN’s primary goal: women achieving their potential across all government agencies.

With the generous support of our sponsor, Naomi Ferguson, and public sector CEs dedicated to diversity and inclusion, the Government Women's Network has been able to support and champion women's networks in government.

With this firm foundation in place, the Governance Group will soon handover to the new Steering Committee who will lead the next phase of GWN's evolution from 1 July, 2019. I'm pleased to announce that the new members of the Steering Committee are:

Ruth Shinoda, Chair

Acting Chief Operating Officer, Deputy Secretary, Strategy, Engagement and Performance, Treasury

Anne Marie Taggart, Deputy Chair

Group Manager Service Development, New Zealand Customs Service

Leisa Adsett

Principal Adviser, Case Management & Probation Practice, Department of Corrections

Lu Avia

Advisor, DHB Performance, Support and Infrastructure, Ministry of Health

Kellie Coombes

Acting Deputy Commissioner, System and Agency Performance, State Services Commission

Kesta Dennison

Supervising Customs Officer, Child Exploitation Operations Team, New Zealand Customs Service

Monique Esplin

Senior Solicitor, Corporate and Registries, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Erin Hartley

Principal Advisor Wellbeing, Department of Conservation

Alison Lewes

Manager, Strategy Implementation & Performance, Ministry of Primary Industries

Meena Pratap

Team leader, Oranga Tamariki

Stacey Richardson

Director, Office of the Deputy Chief Executive Sector Group, Ministry of Justice

I welcome and congratulate the new members of the Steering Committee. With such high calibre and diverse membership, I look forward to seeing GWN grow and mature under their leadership. 

I would also like to thank all of the wāhine toa of the Governance Group who have given their time, energy and commitment to this valuable mahi. GWN's development and success is a testament to their commitment to women, and it has been hugely inspiring to work alongside them. I wish them all the best in their leadership careers.

Ngā mihi mahana,

Tina Wakefield


Members of the outgoing GWN Governance Group with GWN Sponsor, Naomi Ferguson;
 Members of the new GWN Steering Committee

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