4 December 2018
State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes has today announced the appointment of Ms Bernadette Cavanagh as Chief Executive, Ministry for Culture and Heritage.
“I am very pleased to appoint Ms Cavanagh to this role,” the Commissioner said.
“Ms Cavanagh is a career public servant with a record of delivery in complex and high-pressure environments. She is a strong and principled leader who is committed to serving New Zealand through public service. She is experienced in working with Ministers and leaders in diverse sectors.”
Ms Cavanagh is currently the Deputy Secretary, Multilateral and Legal Affairs Group, for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. She has had a successful career with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, holding a number of overseas posts as well as significant leadership roles, including leading former Prime Minister the Rt Hon Helen Clark’s campaign for appointment to the role of United Nations Secretary-General. Ms Cavanagh was the Acting Deputy Permanent Representative at New Zealand’s Mission to the United Nations in New York and represented New Zealand as the High Commissioner to Singapore.
ManatÅ« Taonga, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, leads the Government’s work in the arts, heritage, broadcasting and sports sectors. It provides advice on policy, legislation and sector development to Ministers, while collaborating and partnering with New Zealand’s culture and heritage sectors. The Ministry funds and monitors 15 entities.
The Chief Executive, Ministry for Culture and Heritage oversees an operating budget of $323 million.
“Ms Cavanagh is a leader who instils trust and confidence and is able to get the best out of people,” said Mr Hughes.
“Ms Cavanagh knows how to build relationships. Her expertise at the international level, and experience in navigating complex issues and delivering results have prepared her for this new role. Ms Cavanagh is an intelligent and compassionate Public Service leader motivated by the spirit of service. She is well equipped to head up the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.”
Ms Cavanagh will take up the role on 1 February 2019 for five years.
Media enquiries: Grahame Armstrong: 021 940 457
Ms Cavanagh has been in her current role - Deputy Secretary, Multilateral and Legal Affairs Group, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade - since 2017.
Prior to this, from 2015–2016, she was Divisional Manager – United Nations, Human Rights and Commonwealth Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
From 2013-2015 Ms Cavanagh was High Commissioner – New Zealand High Commission, Singapore.
Between 2010–2012 she was Deputy Permanent Representative – New Zealand Permanent Mission to the United Nations, New York.
Ms Cavanagh was the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Head, South East Asia Unit – Asia Division Ministry from 2007–2010.
Before then, 2004-2007, she was the Ministry’s Deputy Head of Mission – New Zealand Embassy, Moscow.
In 2003-2004 Ms Cavanagh was a Senior Policy Officer – Europe Division for the Ministry.
From 2000-2002 she was a Senior Policy Officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Regional Security Unit / Security Policy Division.
Ms Cavanagh, who has a Bachelor of Arts (Public Policy) from Victoria University of Wellington, started her public service career as an analyst at New Zealand Defence Force / Ministry of Defence in 1993.