Working between her people and government: Māori public sector leader Tui Marsh

Working between her people and government: Māori public sector leader Tui Marsh
  • Published Date: 28 April 2017

The urge to give back to society and her indigenous community has motivated Tui Marsh throughout her public service career. But it was through studying with ANZSOG that Tui, the 2014 Executive Master of Public Administration Dean’s Prize winner, gained the confidence to take the opportunity to help the wellbeing of her people.

‘Like many other Māori, I come from a family with a strong moral belief that we have a responsibility to contribute to the collective good, regardless of our individual circumstances,’ Tui said.

‘This ethic has seen Māori over the years make a significant contribution to the public sector in New Zealand and abroad.’

Pitting herself against the best

Tui descends from the Ngāpuhi and Ngāti Porou people of Aotearoa New Zealand. As the Northern Region Manager at Te Puni Kōkiri, the Ministry of Māori Development in New Zealand, Tui works with her team to strengthen Treaty of Waitangi partnerships and facilitate local Māori to achieve their cultural, social and economic aspirations. Although this role brings her great satisfaction, it can also be a heavy load to bear.

‘You need to be extremely resilient to work at the interface between your people and the Government. It can be a difficult and lonely journey for indigenous public servants.’

A strong desire to develop her own capabilities in support of her community has driven Tui to take up the challenge of further education over her career, but completing an Executive Master with ANZSOG was not initially part of the plan.

‘Prior to studying with ANZSOG I wasn’t really motivated to complete a post graduate qualification. Over the years I’d collected a range of undergraduate qualifications and papers based on whatever I needed to learn to do a good job.

‘The more I learned about the Executive Master of Public Administration course, the more determined I was to do it. The courses have real grunt and are specifically tailored to those working in the public sector. You get the opportunity to learn from and pit yourself against the best.’

Dean's Prize winner

After completing the program, Tui was awarded the Dean’s Prize for the highest score. It was this achievement that gave her the confidence to apply for her current role with Te Puni Kōkiri, a role of great personal importance.

‘The ability to help people is what attracted me to the public sector and I feel privileged to have this opportunity to contribute through my work with Te Puni Kōkiri. I’m immensely proud to be Māori and I love my people’.

As an indigenous leader in the public service, Tui advocates strongly for the nurturing of indigenous and culturally diverse talent, and the benefits this presents to public sector workplaces.

‘I encourage all public sector leaders to take up the challenge and make a special plea for agencies to support their indigenous staff to complete the ANZSOG Masters. There is much to be gained from building mutual understanding and acceptance of different cultural standpoints.’

Applications for the ANZSOG Executive Master in Public Administration are now open.