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Ministry Leadership Team

Meet our Te Kāhui Mataaho, Ministry Leadership Team

Bernadette Cavanagh

Chief Executive  Tumu Whakarae 

Bernadette Cavanagh is the Chief Executive – Tumu Whakarae 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 Olivia Samuel: [email protected]

Sarah Hardy

Deputy Chief Executive, Organisational Performance - Pou Mataaho o Te Iho 

Sarah Hardy is the Deputy Chief Executive, Organisational Performance - Pou Mataaho o Te Iho. Sarah took up this role in August 2021, after earlier being the Acting Deputy Chief Executive, Organisational Performance while on secondment from The Treasury.

Sarah has previously worked at Manatū Taonga as Manager Finance and Strategic Planning from 2011-2016 before joining The Treasury.  At The Treasury Sarah was the Director with responsibility for the Strengthening the Treasury programme. Previously Sarah was the Director leading the design and operation of the Public Finance System with responsibility for the spending in areas across the health, social and other government services sectors.

Sarah was earlier seconded to support the establishment of Oranga Tamariki as CFO and originally went to The Treasury to manage the Head of the Finance Profession team. Sarah also worked at Audit New Zealand, having started her career in the public sector practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers in the United Kingdom.

To contact Sarah please email her Executive Assistant Pablo Monteverde-Young: [email protected]

Tamsin Evans

Deputy Chief Executive, Delivery Group – Pou Mataaho o Te Hua

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.

To contact Tamsin please email her Executive Assistant Sarah De Renzy: [email protected]

Joe Fowler

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

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

Te Aka Tūhono, the Investment & 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]

Basil Keane

Pou Mataaho o Te Pae Huarewa – Acting Deputy Chief Executive, Māori

Basil Keane is the Pou Mataaho o Te Pae Huarewa  - Acting Deputy Chief Executive, Māori.  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 Encyclopaedia 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.


Updated on 21st October 2021