A recipient of New Zealand's inaugural Public Service Medals has been recognised for her work building relationships between Pasifika and the public sector.
Matalena Leaupepe was one of five people presented with a medal this week by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Ms Leaupepe was the Chief Advisor, Pasifika for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment before being appointed Director of the Government Centre for Dispute Resolution in September.
She helped launch the Tupu Tai internship programme, which has placed dozens of Pasifika graduates and students in the public service.
Ms Leaupepe said the programme was the highlight of her career so far.
"Tupu Tai has not only created pathways into the public sector, it has taught the public sector how to receive and work with Pacific people," she said.
Ms Leaupepe said Pasifika people brought innovation, creativity, life and laughter to the work they do so she hoped the successful internship programme was a sample of what the public sector might look like in the near future.
Youth justice worker, Kyle Kuiti and Memorials manager Brodie Stubbs were also awarded Public Service Medals alongside Director of Education, Isabel Evans who has Fijian heritage.
Miriama Evans, who earned the title of 'Wahine Toa' for her efforts in promoting Maori interests, was presented with a medal posthumously.