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Ministry Leadership Team

The Ministry's Leadership Team at Queen Elizabeth II Pukeahu Education Centre.

Paul James

Chief Executive

Paul James is the Ministry’s Chief Executive.

Prior to joining the Ministry in 2015, Paul was the Deputy Chief Executive, Policy, Regulatory and Ethnic Affairs with the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) and from 2006 to 2011, he was Director of the Office of Treaty Settlements.

As an experienced senior public servant, Paul brings strong skills to this role including extensive experience in strategic policy development, leading and managing change and working effectively with a diverse group of stakeholders.

Other senior roles include in the Ministry of Justice, as Policy Manager Family Law between 2002 and 2004, and General Manager Public Law between 2004 and 2006. Paul has also worked in policy roles in The Treasury, Accident Compensation Corporation and Te Puni Kōkiri.

Ripeka Evans

Pou Ārahi Whakahaere : Strategic Adviser Māori

Ripeka has worked at Manatū Taonga as Pou Ārahi Whakahaere since 2010. Ripeka is of Ngāpuhi, Te Aupouri, Ngai Takoto, Ngāti Kahu and Ngāti Porou descent.

With a Master of Business Administration from Massey University Ripeka has also trained in international development in Paris, film and television in Sydney and post graduate studies at the University of Waikato.

Ripeka has worked as a consultant with settlement and post settlement iwi, broadcasting and health organisations. She has also held Chief Executive roles at Te Māngai Pāhō, the Eastern Bay of Plenty Regional Economic Development Agency, and Te ORA. At the former Department of Māori Affairs and Television New Zealand Ripeka established pan-Māori economic development and broadcasting training programmes.

A member of the Māori Women’s Welfare League Ripeka has served on arts, culture, health, fishing and broadcasting boards and one of her iwi post-settlement rūnanga.

Her research and writing interests are about Māori, women and political Leadership. She is a hunter (kai moana) and gatherer (art collections). Ripeka enjoys GLAMping, reading, movies, music, walking, following Sevens, and waka ama, and travelling.

Karen Adair

Group Manager Policy and Sector Performance

Karen joined us in September 2016 from the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) where she was Director, Food and Regulatory Policy in the Policy and Trade Branch. Karen has worked at MPI, formerly the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, in various roles since 2005.

Karen has also run her own consulting business undertaking work with the Productivity Commission and Crown Law Office. Prior to this she was with Treasury, including as the Manager of the Environment and Natural Resources Team.

Karen has significant experience in strategic policy, regulatory regimes and law reform. Karen has a personal interest and commitment to heritage, as President of the Friends of Mount Street Cemetery and a committee member of the Friends of Bolton Street.

Heather Baggott

Group Manager Delivery

Before joining the Ministry in September 2016, Heather was acting General Manager, District Courts Service Delivery at the Ministry of Justice. Her substantive role was General Manager, Special Jurisdictions which included Coroners, Māori Land, Environment and Employment Courts as well as the Waitangi Tribunal. Heather has spent several years in a variety of leadership roles across Courts and Tribunals. 

Prior to this Heather worked at the Office of Treaty Settlements where she led the resolution of historic claims and the restoration of the Crown’s relationship with iwi and hapū up and down the country.

Heather is from the King Country and has Ngati Maniapoto and Te Atiawa iwi affiliations. She is a graduate of Waikato University.

Becky MacNeill

Group Manager Organisational Performance

Becky MacNeill joined us in May 2017 from the Ministry for the Environment where she was the Director of People and Culture, Legal and Procurement and was previously the Director of Legal and Procurement. Becky spent several years at the Ministry of Economic Development in the legal team and has experience there acting as a Policy Manager.  She started her career in the Office of the Clerk.   

At the Ministry for the Environment, Becky chaired the tier 3 Directors’ Governance Group that sets and leads the organisational performance agenda, including the 4 Year Plan, Workforce strategy and resource allocation.  Becky is experienced in delivering high quality corporate functions, in the context of organisational performance and strategic direction.


Updated on 15th August 2017