Written on 14 June 2019 by Peter Hughes


The opening event in Christchurch. From left to right: MBIE leaders Megan Main and Chris Bunny; Chief Executive Carolyn Tremain; and Student Volunteer Army leaders Timothy Greene and Sati Ravichandiren.

Today marks the close of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) Spirit of Service Week.

I would like to applaud MBIE’s initiative. It’s great to see such a dedicated celebration of the spirit of service in one our largest Public Service agencies.  

I’ve often said that the spirit of service is a noble ideal, but it is also something that we can embrace in our daily lives. It will mean something different to every public servant, but it will always be tied to something bigger than ourselves – to our communities and our country. 

The week began with a special event in Christchurch, with close to 100 people from across the Public Service in attendance.

I had the honour of speaking at this event, where I emphasised that having the spirit of service means to be open to the needs of others, to bring the right attitude, to approach your work with humility, and to have a sense of higher purpose.

It was particularly impressive to hear from young leaders Sati Ravichandiren and Timothy Greene from the Student Volunteer Army, who explained why they do the work they do and what the spirit of service means for them and for Christchurch.

On Wednesday MBIE hosted a panel discussion with chief executives and senior leaders, with the challenging topic of ‘Courageous leadership in the wake of the Christchurch terrorist attack’.

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend this event, but I am told it was a huge success and involved some frank and moving conversations about how we can best serve our communities – particularly in tragic circumstances.  

The aim of MBIE’s Spirit of Service Week was to bring people together, inspire conversations about what the spirit of service means to them, and recognise the people who show outstanding spirit of service. However, it doesn’t have to stop today. I encourage everyone to continue these practices as a regular part of our work as public servants. 

It’s great to see the spirit of service is alive and well. Let’s keep up the good work.  

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