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Ministry Leadership Team

Bernadette Cavanagh

Chief Executive

Bernadette Cavanagh is the Chief Executive of Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage (MCH), 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 (MFAT), 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 Stephanie Plumer:

Colin Holden

Deputy Chief Executive, Policy and Sector Performance

Colin is Acting Deputy Chief Executive, 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 Deborah Ready:

Becky MacNeill

Deputy Chief Executive, Organisational Performance and Acting Deputy Chief Executive, Delivery Group

Becky joined the Ministry in May 2017 to take on the new role of Deputy Chief Executive, 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.

Becky is currently the Acting Deputy Chief Executive, Delivery Group while Tamsin Evans is the Deputy Chief Executive, Tuia 250 throughout 2019.

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

Deputy Chief Executive, Tuia 250

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 joined the Ministry in August 2018 and is currently focused on leading the Tuia Encounters 250 project.

To contact Tamsin Evans, please email her Executive Assistant Vicky Weeds :

Updated on 23rd July 2019