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Ministry Leadership Team

Paul James

Chief Executive

Manatū Taonga’s vision is Promoting a confident and connected culture.  New Zealand has a distinctive and rich culture and heritage and we want to connect more people with this.  As Chief Executive Paul is also committed to developing a confident and connected Ministry.

Paul says the Ministry has a broad mandate, from built-heritage to broadcasting and the arts, a long reach, through the 15 agencies we fund, and a big heart centered on our passionate people. Paul is leading the Ministry to provide more visible leadership, a clearly understood common purpose and culture, and to simplify and clarify strategy then embed it within our work.

As an experienced senior public servant, Paul brings strong skills to his role in strategic policy development, leading and managing change and working effectively with diverse stakeholders.

Prior to joining the Ministry in 2015, Paul was the Deputy Chief Executive, Policy, Regulatory and Ethnic Affairs with the Department of Internal Affairs and from 2006 to 2011, he was Director of the Office of Treaty Settlements. He has also been Policy Manager, Family Law and General Manager, Public Law at the Ministry of Justice. Paul has worked in policy roles at The Treasury, Accident Compensation Corporation and Te Puni Kōkiri.

Paul says his role with the Ministry has led him to a previously unknown and emerging passion for dance, watching not participating.

To contact Paul James please email his Executive Assistant Stephanie Plumer:

Colin Holden

Group Manager Policy and Sector Performance


Colin is Acting Group Manager, Policy and Sector Performance. The Policy and Sector Performance Group provides Ministers with policy advice to support the sustainable growth of the cultural sector, and on how to improve New Zealanders' access to and participation in cultural experiences. The Group also monitors the performance of 15 cultural sector agencies that receive Crown funding.

Colin joined the Ministry in 2017 after a long career linked to the primary sector. He has significant experience in strategic policy, regulatory systems and law reform, and has held leadership roles in a range of policy and regulatory areas. Prior to taking up his current role, Colin managed the Ministry for Culture and Heritage’s Arts and Media Policy team.

To contact Colin please email his Executive Assistant Sue Sutton:

Becky MacNeill

Group Manager Organisational Performance

Becky joined the Ministry in May 2017 to take on the new role of Group Manager Organisational Performance. She is responsible for developing organisational strategy and building a high performance environment across the Ministry and for the agencies we fund.

In her role Becky is responsible for the full suite of corporate services and is charged with building organisational performance and culture to support a successful organisation which connects people in a cohesive way to New Zealand’s culture and heritage.

Becky is experienced in delivering high quality corporate functions, in the context of organisational performance and strategic direction.

Prior to joining the Ministry Becky was with the Ministry for the Environment where she was Director of the People and Culture, Legal and Procurement and was previously the Director of Legal and Procurement. Becky spent several years at the Ministry for Economic Development in the legal team and has experience there acting as a policy manager.

Becky began her career in the Office of the Clerk.

To contact Becky MacNeill please email her Executive Assistant Ella Hall:

Mike Nathan

Pou Ārahi Whakahaere

Mike joined the Ministry in 2018 from Te Tari Taiwhenua (DIA) where he has spent most of his career, first in the Far North as part of Hāpai Hapori (Community Operations Group) then as Director Pou Ārahi in Kāwai ki te Iwi (Service Delivery Branch) and, most recently, as Principle Advisor-Te Aka Taiwhenua in Ngā Tohu Ratonga (Shared Services Branch).

Over the last few years he has led work with others on Te Aka Taiwhenua (DIA’s Māori strategy), the expansion and focus on use in DIA of Te Reo in their “every day mahi” a Māori Staff Leadership Programme – Te Kurutao, and the ongoing care and protection of Te Atamira, a National network of local kaumatua and kuia who work closely with DIA.  Mike previously worked at the Department of Māori Affairs and Department of Social Welfare.

Mike affiliates to Te Rarawa and Ngāti Koroki Kahukura and comes to us with a passion for bringing te reo, tikanga and a Māori world view into the work of the public service.

Mike can be contacted by email at

Tamsin Evans

Delivery Group Manager

Since emigrating from the UK in 1996 Tamsin has worked in a wide range of local government and corporate functions. From delivering major infrastructure projects, to key strategic and policy initiatives and organisational change projects, to front line and core services, she has worked in local government for 21 years and at a senior level for fifteen years.

Tamsin worked at Kapiti District Council as Group Manager Community Services and Deputy Chief Executive. She had been at KCDC for 10 years and prior to that worked for Capacity (now known as Wellington Water) and for Wellington City Council in various infrastructure and customer service roles.

While working at Kapiti Coast District Council Tamsin was involved several major construction projects including building the Coastlands Aquatic Centre and the Alliance arrangements to deliver the Mackays to Peka Peka Expressway as well as a variety of strategic and policy activities.

Tamsin worked as Chief Operating Officer at Porirua City Council from March 2016 until June 2018. The role encompassed operational and strategic leadership of the Council’s delivery activities in infrastructure and community facilities at a time when the completion of Transmission Gully and several other major developments in the city herald exciting growth opportunities for Porirua.

However, after twenty one years in local government it was time for a change and the chance to make a switch to central government was too good an opportunity to miss. Tamsin took up the role of Group Manager, Delivery at MCH in August 2018.

To contact Tamsin Evans please email her Executive Assistant Monique Solomon:

Updated on 11th September 2018