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Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa New Zealand Geographic Board’s Wendy Shaw has been recognised at the Te Rā Ratonga Tūmatanui - Public Service Day Awards. Wendy received the Public Service Commissioner’s Commendation for Frontline Excellence at a ceremony at Government House last night.

Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa New Zealand Geographic Board’s Wendy Shaw has been recognised at the Te Rā Ratonga Tūmatanui - Public Service Day Awards. Wendy received the Public Service Commissioner’s Commendation for Frontline Excellence at a ceremony at Government House last night.

Commissioner Peter Hughes says Wendy is motivated by a spirit of service and a passion to help all New Zealanders feel a sense of belonging and identity, which she does by helping people to learn about place names and participate in place naming. 

Wendy joined the public service in 1978, but she found her calling as Secretary for Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa.

Even after 23 years as Secretary, Wendy hasn’t lost her enthusiasm.

“I’m a details and process person, so the work has always really appealed to me. It is complex, challenging and always busy. But every day, I get to work with smart, practical, passionate colleagues who really love their mahi.

“Our work has international reach, including representing New Zealand on the Australia New Zealand Working Group on Place Names and membership of the United Nations Group of Experts for Geographical Naming,” says Wendy.

Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa is also responsible for official place names in the Ross Dependency of Antarctica and visiting Antarctica in 2004 was a highlight for Wendy.

“That was a real privilege. The experience gave me insights into the environment and geography.”

She’s proud of the Board’s work to recognise traditional Māori place names.

“The names we give our home and the stories behind them are an important part of our identity. We’ve worked very hard to develop robust public engagement processes that bring the whole community into decision-making.

“It has given me real insight into our country and its history, especially from a Māori perspective. I’ve particularly enjoyed learning te reo, kawa and tikanga Māori.”

NZGB Secretary Wendy Shaw

NZGB Secretary Wendy Shaw

 

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