Female private sector boss to lead New Zealand’s new Ministry for Vulnerable Children

By on 18/08/2016 | Updated on 27/01/2022
Gráinne Moss will lead New Zealand’s new Ministry for Vulnerable Children from September

A private sector aged-care boss has been appointed to lead New Zealand’s new Ministry for Vulnerable Children.

Gráinne Moss, who is previously worked as managing director for Bupa Care Services NZ, one of New Zealand’s largest providers of care services to elderly people, will become acting chief executive of the ministry on 5 September, before becoming chief executive for a five-year term once the department is formally established next April.

In the new role, she will be the government’s lead provider of policy advice and services for vulnerable children and young people.

Moss spent nine years at Bupa where her “proudest achievement [was] being the first aged care provider to create a career pathway where caregivers can develop their competencies to increase their pay,” she told the New Zealand Herald last year.

Before joining Bupa, Moss worked as chief operating officer for software solutions company Intelligent Technologies in Switzerland.

Prior to that, she worked as general manager for Carter Holt Harvey New Zealand, a manufacturer and supplier of wood products, where she was employed between 1999 and 2002.

Moss graduated with a Bachelor of Science in human anatomy and biology from the University of Liverpool in 1991, after which she joined the UK’s National Health Service as part of the its graduate management training scheme and was based in Merseyside in North-West England.

Upon completion of the scheme, she became deputy director of contracting at Sefton Health Authority in Merseyside where she manage major healthcare reforms.

After three years in the role, she was appointed senior consultant for health and social services in the UK and New Zealand for Price Waterhouse Coopers.

Originally from Ireland, Moss is an accomplished long-distance swimmer and became the first Irish woman to swim the English Channel and Cook Strait.    

Announcing her appointment as the civil servant leading the new Ministry for Vulnerable Children, New Zealand’s top civil servant Peter Hughes said: “I am very pleased to appoint Mrs Moss to this newly established role and welcome her to the Public Service.

“Too many of our children and young people are being abused and neglected.

“The Ministry for Vulnerable Children will take a new approach to government services that support and protect vulnerable children, teenagers and their families.

“Mrs Moss is a transformational leader with a proven track record of leading and managing change across multiple industries and a variety of countrie.

“She will bring new ideas and fresh perspectives to help the new agency make a real difference in the lives of New Zealand children.

“Her experience at Bupa providing care services to elderly New Zealanders means she understands how to run a large organisation focused on caring for people who can be vulnerable and need help and support.”  

Prime minister John Key said today: “The care and protection of vulnerable children and young people is a priority for this Government and the establishment of a new stand-alone, child-centred ministry is a reflection of that.

“The new ministry will put the needs of children first so that they have the best possible chance of living happy and successful lives.”

The new department will also be called Oranga Tamariki (the wellbeing of the child) to reflect the fact that six out of ten children in state care are Maori.


About Winnie Agbonlahor

Winnie is news editor of Global Government Forum. She previously reported for Civil Service World - the trade magazine for senior UK government officials. Originally from Germany, Winnie first came to the UK in 2006 to study a BA in Journalism & Russian at the University of Sheffield. She is bilingual in English and German, and, after spending an academic year abroad in Russia and reporting for the Moscow Times, Winnie also speaks Russian fluently.

One Comment

  1. sharon says:

    I like the idea of the new Department being called Oranga Tamariki (the wellbeing of the child) a positive use of te reo Maori; and the meaning behind the name sends out a positive message to the community for all children.

    However; I am disappointed; and don’t believe that name should then be necessarily used if it is in relation to reflecting the fact that six out of ten children in state care are Maori.
    One would need to question why is te reo Maori used if only to reflect a negative situation for Maori at present.

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