Ria McBride Public Service Management Award 2020

Awards: One award of $15,000
Open:1 March to 15 April 2020
Awards advised: Mid-June 2020
Awards-made: July and August 2020

Purpose of the award
The Ria McBride Public Service Management Award for women is sponsored by the State Services Commission. The goal of this prestigious award is to help women, including those who have not previously undertaken academic studies, who have already demonstrated potential, to advance to higher levels of responsibility in the Public Service.

Ria McBride and her achievements
The award honours Ria McBride, who was the first woman appointed Chief Clerk of the Public Service Commission (which preceded the current State Services Commission). Ria McBride worked for the Public Service Commission from 1946 to 1960 overcoming prejudice and obstacles as a woman in a then male domain.

She was the first non-Māori to be appointed to the Māori Welfare Division of the Māori Affairs Department, serving as Administration Officer there from 1960 to 1967, when she became head of the Housing Division. Upon her “retirement” in 1970, she pursued equal employment opportunities for women, as a founder member of the National Advisory Council on the Employment of Women.

In this role she helped set up the Accident Compensation Commission. From 1978 to 1980 she was one of the first full-time human rights commissioners.

The Award and what it can be used for

  • The winner will receive funding of up to $15,000 for professional development.
  • The money is to be used for study and personal development in a position in the in the Public Service. 
  • The recipient may use the award for study over an extended period provided she retains eligibility by working for the Public Service (in a department listed in the First Schedule of the State Sector Act 1988), or a brief period of intensive study.
  • The money may be used for tuition costs for an approved course of study, experiential development, transport costs, costs associated with disabilities, childcare or other study-related expenses. It will be paid out by the New Horizons for Women Trust on receipt of an invoice for expenses anticipated and included in the winner’s proposal. It may be used in combination with funding from other sources.
  • The recipient of the Award is expected to pursue study leading to a recognisable and reputable higher qualification, as appropriate to the recipient’s circumstances. Applicants pursuing a second chance at education are encouraged to apply.


  • The award is open to women employees of Public Service departments listed in the First Schedule of the State Sector Act 1988 (see list of the departments at the end of this document)
  • Applicants must have a letter of support from the Chief Executive of their department.
  • Are citizens of Aotearoa New Zealand or have full residency status (provide evidence of residency status) 
  • Live in New Zealand
  • Have not previously received a Ria Mc Bride Public Service Management Award.

Please note:

  • Māori and Pacific women and women with disabilities are encouraged to apply.
  • There may be more than one application from a department.  
  • You are expected to start the study programme within 12 months and to use the funds within 5 years.
Whilst the eligibility criteria are clearly outlined, the spirit of the award is aimed at women who generally have not had the opportunity or means to pursue or complete tertiary study yet demonstrate personal strength and leadership potential. Such applicants may be hindered from progressing in their leadership contribution to the Public Service due to their lack of qualifications. Current level of qualification should not however prevent potential awardees from submitting an application if they are eligible to apply.

Selection process and interviews
The selection process involves two phases:

1. A shortlist of applicants will be selected based on:

  • Quality of the proposal
  • Ability to honour Ria McBride
  • Evidence of managerial potential in the Public Service
  • Value for money and commitment to the Public Service

2. Short listed applicants will need to be available for an interview during the week of 11 May 2020, either in person or via video conferencing. The final decision will rest on the

  • Quality of the application
  • Interview
  • Referee checks

How to apply for an award
If you are eligible for this award please complete the online application form.

Submit your complete application by 7pm 15 April 2020
Interviews will be held – week beginning 11 May
All applicants will be advised of the outcome in June.

Schedule 1 Departments and Agencies of the Public Service


  • Business, Innovation, and Employment, Ministry of
  • Conservation, Department of
  • Corrections, Department of
  • Crown Law Office
  • Culture and Heritage, Ministry for
  • Defence, Ministry of
  • Education, Ministry of
  • Education Review Office
  • Environment, Ministry for the
  • Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ministry of
  • Government Communications Security Bureau
  • Health, Ministry of
  • Housing and Urban Development, Ministry of
  • Inland Revenue Department
  • Internal Affairs, Department of
  • Justice, Ministry of
  • Land Information New Zealand
  • Māori Development, Ministry of
  • New Zealand Customs Service
  • New Zealand Security Intelligence Service
  • Oranga Tamariki—Ministry for Children
  • Pacific Peoples, Ministry for
  • Primary Industries, Ministry for
  • Prime Minister and Cabinet, Department of the
  • Serious Fraud Office
  • Social Development, Ministry of
  • State Services Commission
  • Statistics New Zealand
  • Transport, Ministry of
  • Treasury, The
  • Te Kāhui Whakamana Rua Tekau mā Iwa—Pike River Recovery Agency
  • Women, Ministry for
  • Cancer Control Agency
  • National Emergency Management Agency
  • Social Investment Agency
  • Te Arawhiti—Māori Crown Relations, Office for