• Posted on: 12/05/2022
  • 2 minutes to read
  • Tagged with: Public Service Network PSA Pasefika

The Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi is delighted to welcome Duane Leo to his new role as national secretary of the union.

Duane, who joins Kerry Davies in the co-leadership position, comes to the national secretary role after nearly 20 years working on behalf of PSA members, with previous experience in the Industrial Relations Service and the Service and Food Workers Union (now E tū).


Duane first entered the union movement in the early 1990s. He describes it as a particularly dark time for workers.

Duane says: “The Employment Contracts Act struck a huge blow against the union movement.

“When there were disputes, everything went the employers’ way. It made me starkly aware of how vulnerable working New Zealanders can be.

“It’s stuck with me throughout my union journey: that desire to see workers treated with dignity and respect.”


New Zealand born and of Pacific Island descent, Duane has strong links to family and community in Te-Moana-Nui-A-Kiwa with a sharp understanding of the issues faced in the region.

“I come from a Pacific Island background, so I’m used to people doing things as a collective,” Duane explains.

“Yes – you work hard and you’re successful, but you try to bring people up with you.

“That’s something that really appealed to me about the union movement.”


During his time at PSA, Duane has been instrumental in developing and growing the PSA Pasefika Network.

“It’s been a joy to see the incredible work the Network has done on equal pay and the gender pay gap,” Duane says.

“Not to mention the Network’s presence within the wider union movement, where we’ve taken on an important role as co-conveners of the Council of Trade Unions (CTU) as well as Komiti Pasifika.”


Duane has held several positions in the PSA, working as an assistant secretary with responsibility for the Public Service sector, as well as a national organiser, an organiser for the Pasefika Network, and a representative for Public Services International (PSI) in projects taking place across the Pacific.

Duane wants to grow the PSA’s profile as a trusted voice – not just on industrial issues – but on social policy, economics, and the environment.

“When I first joined the PSA, we had 40,000 members. We’ve effectively doubled in size over the past 20 years.

“I believe growth gives us a mandate: to take a seat at the table during these important discussions.”

Duane sums up what his new appointment means to him.

“We spend more than a third of our lives in work. If people are unhappy, that’s a significant part of their lives. It flows into everything – their wellbeing, relationships, personal life.

“I’m honoured to develop my passion in this new role: supporting and developing workers; helping them find dignity and respect.”