Skip to main content

Ministry Leadership Team

Meet our Te Kāhui Mataaho, Ministry Leadership Team

Bernadette Cavanagh

Tumu Whakarae
Chief Executive

Bernadette Cavanagh

Bernadette Cavanagh is the Tumu Whakarae, Chief Executive of Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage, taking up the role in February 2019.

Bernadette brings to the role strong leadership skills, expertise at the international level, and experience in navigating complex issues and delivering results. Before joining the Ministry, Bernadette had a career with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, with her most recent role as Deputy Secretary of the Multilateral and Legal Affairs Group.

Bernadette also served offshore including as Deputy Head of Mission in the New Zealand Embassy in Moscow, Deputy Permanent Representative at New Zealand’s Mission to the United Nations in New York and was New Zealand’s High Commissioner to Singapore. Bernadette began her public service career with the New Zealand Defence Force / Ministry of Defence.

To contact Bernadette, please email her Executive Assistant Olivia Samuel: [email protected]

Sarah Hardy

Pou Mataaho o Te Iho
Deputy Chief Executive, Organisational Performance

Sarah Hardy

Sarah Hardy is the Pou Mataaho o Te Iho, Deputy Chief Executive, Organisational Performance. Sarah has been in the role since November 2020, including being the Acting Deputy Chief Executive, Organisational Performance while on secondment from Te Tai Ohanga The Treasury until August 2021.

Sarah worked at Manatū Taonga as Manager Finance and Strategic Planning from 2011—2016 before joining Te Tai Ohanga. At Te Tai Ohanga Sarah had various roles including as the Director Public Service Management leading the design and operation of the Public Finance System.

Her other experience includes a secondment to support the establishment of Oranga Tamariki as CFO. Sarah previously worked at Audit New Zealand, having started her career in the public sector practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers in the United Kingdom.

Te Iho teams service a range of activities that support Manatū Taonga. These teams include Communications, Facilities, Finance, Human Resources, Information Management and Technology, Legal, Ministerial Services and Portfolio Reporting. Te Iho supports our Ministers in three portfolios – Arts, Culture and Heritage, Broadcasting and Media, and Sports and Recreation. Te Iho also creates the Ministry's accountability reports.

Joe Fowler

Pou Mataaho o Te Aka Tūhono
Deputy Chief Executive, Investment and Outcomes

Joe Fowler

Joe Fowler is the Pou Mataaho o Te Aka Tūhono, Deputy Chief Executive Investment and Outcomes, taking up this role in September 2021.

Te Aka Tūhono, the Investment and Outcomes Group manages Te Tahua Whakamarohi Cultural Sector Regeneration Fund, providing $150 million to support the arts and culture sector.

Joe joined us from Oranga Tamariki, where he was the General Manager Commissioning for four years. Before this, Joe was a senior manager in central and local government in the United Kingdom. Joe has spent the last 15 years of his career finding creative and collaborative ways of using public funding to support improved outcomes. Joe has also led significant change within and across organisations. At Oranga Tamariki, Joe worked with iwi, Māori, non-governmental organisations, and internal stakeholders to completely re-design the agency's procurement, funding and contracting.

To contact Joe, please email the Investment and Outcomes administration team: [email protected]

Emily Fabling

Pou Mataaho o Te Aka
Deputy Chief Executive, Policy and Sector Performance

Emily Fabling

Emily Fabling is the Pou Mataaho o Te Aka, Deputy Chief Executive, Policy and Sector Performance. Emily has been in the role since November 2021.

Emily is an experienced DCE having spent the last four years as Deputy Secretary Strategy, Planning and Governance, Te Ohu Rautaki at the Ministry of Education — Te Tāhuhu o Te Mātauranga. In that role Emily led the strategy, sector performance, legal, corporate communications and ministerial servicing areas for the Ministry. Emily’s policy background includes senior roles in education, labour and immigration policy, as well as leading programmes of national significance. Emily has also been a board member for Fulbright New Zealand, and retains her voluntary board role for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award.

The Te Aka group provides policy advice to the government on arts, culture, heritage, broadcasting, and sports and recreation. Te Aka works on policy proposals, legislation and reviews that are significant to the cultural sector. The group also monitors the government's interests in the cultural sector agencies which receive crown funding, including supporting ministers with board appointments and governance advice.

To contact Emily, please email her Executive Assistant, Keely Newcombe: [email protected]

Basil Keane

Pou Mataaho o Te Pae Huarewa (Taupua)
Acting Deputy Chief Executive, Māori capability and engagement

Basil Keane

Basil Keane is the Pou Mataaho o Te Pae Huarewa, Acting Deputy Chief Executive, Māori capability and engagement. Basil is of Ngāti Kahungunu, Rangitāne and Ngāpuhi descent, joining Manatū Taonga in June 2021.

Basil has previously worked here from 2005 to 2015, firstly as the Editor Māori for Te Ara — The Encyclopedia of New Zealand and then Director of Māori digital projects. Basil took up later roles as a Senior Researcher in Te Wāhanga Māori at New Zealand Council of Educational Research, a Senior Advisor, Māori Strategy and Partnerships at the Ministry of Justice and a Principal Advisor Partnerships at Te Arawhiti — Office for Māori Crown Relations. Basil is fluent in te reo Māori and brings with him a wide range of iwi Māori networks and relationships. He is well experienced in the machinery of government, Manatū Taonga and our sector.

Neill Atkinson

Pou Mataaho o Te Hua (Taupua)
Acting Deputy Chief Executive, Delivery

Neill Atkinson

Neill Atkinson is Acting Deputy Chief Executive, Delivery – Pou Mataaho o Te Hua (Taupua). Neill has been in the role since November 2021.

Neill has been Chief Historian at Manatū Taonga since 2011. He has worked at the Ministry since 2002, and written widely for the NZHistory website, the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography and Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand. He has also written or co-written eight books, including histories of New Zealand railways, elections and voting, and merchant seafarers in the Second World War.

Te Hua is comprised of three teams: Te Pae Wānanga, Te Pae Māpuna and Te Pae Mahara. Within Te Pae Wānanga, historians, researchers, designers and developers tell stories about New Zealand history and who New Zealanders are today. Te Pae Mahara looks after national monuments and sites, including the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, and war graves throughout New Zealand. Te Pae Mahara also supports commemorations and anniversaries. Te Pae Māpuna administers the Protected Objects Act and the Flags, Emblems and Names Protection Act, which looks after national symbols like the flag, the Coat of Arms, and uses of the words Royal and Anzac. Te Pae Māpuna is also responsible for funding Waitangi Day events and regional culture and heritage.

To contact Neill, please email his Executive Assistant, Sarah de Renzy: [email protected].


Updated on 21st January 2022