Leading the Way

PSA member Pam Maha had never been fully aware of family violence before she joined the Ministry of Justice twenty years ago.

“As a child I thought everyone had a Mum and Dad who cared about them,” says the Ngāti Kahungunu wahine who grew up in a loving whānau environment.

But following a career in banking where she “got sick of making money” Pam decided she would rather be helping people.

That led to her “dream job” as a sexual violence court victim advisor based in the Hamilton courts.

It’s tough supporting families through the court system but Pam tries to give them some hope.

 “I do it because people and in particular our children didn’t ask for this. If it was someone from my family, I hope they would be treated with dignity.”


Pam had to overcome her natural shyness to take on leadership roles within the Ministry and the PSA.

“I remember sitting at a MOJ senior leadership conference and thinking what am I here for? But then I felt I’m here to ensure staff are represented at the table.”

She says she fell into becoming a PSA rūnanga, site and national delegate, and MOJ national convenor.

“I didn’t think I had the qualities you needed for those national roles but I get the big picture.

“I enjoyed working  together with the people who made the decisions - because if we keep butting heads we won’t get anywhere.”


Pam was part of the MOJ bargaining team during their industrial dispute in 2018. She says she was a calming  influence during a time of high tension.

“It was a valuable learning experience but it was exhausting and personally challenging.

“I was proud of our team. We were well prepared and used technology to inform our members quickly. The campaign really brought us into the 21st century.”


Last year Pam stepped down as MOJ national convenor but became the Ministry’s national health & safety representative.

As a health and safety site rep for the Hamilton District and High Court she won a Government award in 2017/2018.

Her achievements included ensuring systems were in place to make the site compliant and helping others to understand the importance of health and safety protocols.

“People come on board if they see it’s not just something head office told them to do. The important thing is for everyone to be  able to return home each night.”

Pam has also represented the PSA and Ministry of Justice during the Hāpaitia justice reform process and is “cautiously optimistic” it will bring about meaningful change. 

Also in this issue:

‘We thank you for your brave stand’

PSA members and local communities joined forces in February to protest restructuring that threatened hundreds of jobs and quality client care.

While the restructuring by HealthCare NZ is now set to go ahead the protests have thrown a spotlight on issues besetting the home care and support sector.

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“Remember the loss but also remember the hope”

As we mark the anniversary of the Christchurch attacks the PSA has added its voice to a call for peace from the city’s Muslim community.

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Leading the charge on contractor rights

Our union is leading the charge to strengthen rights for contractors and labour hire workers in public and community services.

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Make it Real

Thousands of admin workers in the Public Service are asking to be paid what they’re worth with the launch of their pay equity claim.

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Mana Wahine Claim goes to Waitangi

The Mana Wahine team was up before dawn on Waitangi Day erecting our stall at the famous Treaty Grounds.

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Opportunities and issues with new bill

We’ve been making our voices heard on the new Public Service Legislation Bill with submissions from the PSA, Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina, network and delegate committees and individual members.

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"We have come too far to not go further"

‘Tawhiti rawa i tō tatou haerenga atu te kore haere tonu’ - Sir James Henare

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We Count

The results of a survey of rainbow public servants suggest a significant proportion still don’t feel comfortable being out in their workplaces.

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The PSA’s greatest victory?

Former PSA staffer Noel O’Hare explains why he wrote Tooth & Veil, a history of school dental nurses and the day they stormed the corridors of power.

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Maranga Mai

A groundbreaking course is empowering Māori delegates and contributing to a surge in Māori membership across the PSA.

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Pacific organisers speak of challenges and triumphs

Union organisers from the Pacific have spoken about the challenges some face while trying to improve conditions for workers in their countries.

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Climate Talk

Nā Alex Johnston, Oxfam New Zealand campaigns coordinator and PSA EcoNetwork member

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Holiday Home Snaps

Thanks to all our members who entered our PSA Holiday Home Photo Competition over the summer.

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The Marlene Pitman Award

Nominations are now being sought for the Marlene Pitman award.

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Radio NZ

In early February, RNZ announced its new music strategy which included a proposal to axe over 18 of our members’ jobs and move the station to AM radio.

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New CTU Secretary Looks to the Future

The new CTU Secretary Melissa Ansell-Bridges was drawn to the union movement when a job as industrial officer and organiser at Equity New Zealand caught her attention.

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On the Job

As the first Pasefika person to become a mental health nurse practitioner, Makoni Havea is determined to make a difference for her community.

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Te Reo o te Tari

Why not try out some of these simple phrases in the workplace?

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President's Message March 2020

He waka eke noa – We are all in this together

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