Today is the inaugural New Zealand Public Service Day - Te RÄ KÄwanatanga 2018.
It celebrates a special event 106 years ago when the Public Service Act became law, creating a professional, unified and impartial Public Service that remains fundamental to our system of government.
Today we reflect on the spirit of service that underpins our Public Service ideal, and what it means to serve ... with humility and a very real desire to do the best we can for our country and our fellow New Zealanders.
It's also the perfect opportunity to acknowledge this spirit of service tens of thousands of New Zealand's public servants express in numerous ways in their work every day, throughout the country.
I truly believe in the spirit of service. I also believe it‘s important to recognise and acknowledge public servants who epitomise this spirit with their standards of excellence and willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty.
On Monday, I was privileged to meet and help honour some of New Zealand's most outstanding public servants.
Fourteen public servants representing 13 different public service agencies, received medals and commendations presented for the first time at a special ceremony in Wellington.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern presented five people with Te Tohu Ratonga TÅ«matanui o Aotearoa - the New Zealand Public Service Medal. And alongside State Services Minister Chris Hipkins, I presented nine public servants with Te Tohu Amorangi a Te Kawa Mataaho - The State Services Commissioner's Commendation for Frontline Excellence.
All of this year's medal and commendation recipients are leaders in the public service. The way they individually express the spirit of service - their motivation to make a positive difference - is a big part of what makes them outstanding public servants. They have helped set the standard for thousands of other public servants and award recipients in coming years.
It was no coincidence that these special annual awards were timed to lead up to New Zealand's first Public Service Day. The recipients - and their families, whÄnau and colleagues - can feel justifiably proud of the contribution being made to our country.
As State Services Commissioner, I'm very proud that we are honouring such inspirational public servants.