Interested in a public sector board role

In the public sector, there are over 400 boards, trusts, and committees. These range from small advisory and funding bodies to Crown entities responsible for governing organisations that control multi-million dollar budgets and assets.

There are around 29 government agencies that support Ministers with board appointments process and the administrative support of those boards. They are called “appointing agencies”.

Nominating agencies have their own dedicated nominations or appointments services, manage databases of board-ready candidates, and communicate board opportunities to suitably qualified and experienced members of our databases. 

The Ministry for Women has a dedicated Nominations Service able to assist women into governance roles, and women  interested in a governance role are encouraged to join. This allows us to match women’s skills to upcoming vacancies and put their profiles forward for consideration for the boards, trusts and committees that different ministers make appointments to.

We also support women to develop their governance careers by providing information to support them in maximising their opportunities.

These efforts have contributed to women holding more than 50% of the governance roles appointed by Ministers since 2020. Women currently hold 53.1% of roles on public sector boards and committees (as at 31 December 2022).

Watch this video to find out more about the appointments and application process for public sector boards and committees.


Writing a governance CV

A governance CV is different from an employment CV. The skills and experience you will bring to a board should be highlighted rather than your work experience.

Use the headings below to develop your governance CV:

  • Personal information such as your contact details, date of birth, residency status, hapū/iwi affiliations, cultural/ethnic identity, languages, perspectives you bring to the role.
  • Professional summary
  • Governance experience
  • Employment history
  • Community service or volunteer work 
  • Professional memberships, awards or recognition
  • Educational qualifications and accreditations
  • Professional training and development activities

Click here for more information on writing your governance CV.

Board room discussion

Where to find governance training and experience

There are a range of providers in New Zealand that have courses and resources to help with your professional development and training. You can find a curated list of courses on our Leadership Learning Hub.

You can also talk or reach out to experienced governance professionals to talk about their experience. Watch this video to hear from four women who are experienced governance professionals about their experience in the governance space and get some advice on how to get started.

You could also get involved in your local community as a pathway into governance. Local community boards and committees work in a similar way to larger boards – but are generally not-for-profit with a lot less financial responsibility and tend to cross over into operational/hands-on work.  As a member of such a board, you may also perform voluntary duties that in bigger organisations would be undertaken by paid staff.

There are many not-for-profit and community boards which cover all sectors of society including different sports, conservation, environment, heritage, health, youth, humanitarian and more.

Once you have started gaining governance experience, you can seek more formal training.

Discussion at the Beehive

Seeking opportunities

Find out where the board roles you are interested in are advertised, as they can be listed in a range of places such as the organisation’s website, job seeker websites, social media, print media, and word of mouth – as well as through appointment and nominations services. 

You could also let your colleagues and existing contacts know of your interest in seeking governance experience. If you have senior business or subject specific skills, consider what sectors you could bring your expertise to. Investigate governance training and information through the various organisations that provide it and sign up to options that work for you. 

Here are some suggested websites below:

Many councils throughout the country also have lists of community boards available in their area. Speak to members of the various organisations that you are interested in to find out ways that you can contribute.

Watch this video to hear from Dr Robbie Francis Watene on her experience seeking opportunities to get into governance.

Register with the Ministry’s Nominations Service

Once you know the governance area or sector you’re interested in, you can register with a Nominations Service. 

The Ministry has a dedicated Nominations Service that can assist women into governance roles. Women interested in a governance role are encouraged to join our Nominations Service database. We also support women to develop their governance careers by providing information to support them in maximising their opportunities.

This will allow you to sign up to our nominations database, upload a copy of your governance CV, and update your information at any stage.

The Nominations Service receives requests from over 29 government appointing agencies when vacancies arise on any of the 400+ public sector boards. These agencies will provide the Nominations Service with information relating to the vacancies including the skill sets sought, and how to apply. 

The Nominations Service searches its database and matches women with the skills and areas of expertise sought for each vacancy based on the information provided in your database registration.

We encourage women, as appropriate, to also consider joining these agency databases:

Women discussion at Beehive

Ongoing development of governance skills and experience

There are several things you can do to increase your opportunities of getting on a public sector board.  You can continue to undertake further professional governance training through various organisations or applying for a Future Directors position through the Institute of Directors. This programme gives future directors the opportunity to observe and participate on a company or public sector board for at least a year attending and participating in board meetings.  Further information can be found at Future Directors.

There are many governance opportunities outside the public sector. These include not-for-profit, community, sporting, health, and private enterprises. These are regularly advertised on a number of forums including newspapers, social media, organisation’s websites, job seeker websites like or Seek, and Appoint Better Boards.

It is important that your details on the database are kept updated (including your CV) to ensure we can put you forward for any opportunities that arise.

Shortlisted by the Nominations Service

If you have registered with a nominations service, you will have agreed to have your name put forward for any suitable vacancies that match your skill sets and experience. 

Occasionally, appointing agencies seek confidential nominations. In these cases, after we run a search through the names registered with our Nominations Service for suitably qualified and experienced women, the names, profiles, and governance CV of the shortlisted women are sent to the appointing agency for consideration. It is therefore very important to keep your details and CV up to date.  

More often, appointing agencies will publicly advertise their vacancies. In these cases, we advise the shortlisted women from our database who have matching skills and expertise to the role, of the opportunity and invite them to apply if they are interested and available. Applications will need to be made directly to the appointing agency using the agencies application form and process.

Discussion around laptop

Shortlisted by administrating agency

Shortlisted nominees are sent to the administrating agency to be considered alongside any other nominations that have been received. Ministers routinely seek nominations from several different sources including publicly advertising the role, as well as seeking nominations from government nominating agencies, ministerial colleagues, and sector groups.

Once nominated

Once nominated

As an applicant, you need to understand that appointments usually take many months to progress.

Once nominations have been received from several sources, the appointing agency will often provide their Minister with advice on nominations received and their suitability for appointment. At this stage, if the Minister has requested nominees are interviewed, the shortlisted candidates will be notified and asked to attend an interview. You should always ask who will be on the interview panel, and what format the interview will take so that you can prepare.

Candidates will also be asked to declare potential conflicts of interest and may be asked to authorise credit, qualification, and criminal record checks.


Cabinet appointment process

Once a minister has selected their preferred candidate(s), consultation occurs and then a paper must be prepared for the Cabinet Appointments and Honours Committee (APH) to note the recommended candidate(s).

The role of APH is to consider appointments to statutory boards and committees. It consists of 13 Ministers and is chaired by the Prime Minister.

Once this has been completed, the appointment is then taken to the Cabinet to confirm the appointment.

Hands cropped

Appointment completed

Some appointments are made by Ministers, and some are made by the Governor-General depending on the legislation.

If it is a Ministerial appointment, the successful candidate will receive a letter of appointment from the appointing Minister. If it is an appointment made by the Governor-General, the successful candidate will receive a Notice of Appointment signed by the Governor-General along with a letter of appointment from the appointing Minister. 

The appointment is not confirmed until the appointee acknowledges receipt of the letter and accepts the role. The appointing agency will then ensure an induction is provided.

Interested in a board role Appointment completed Register with the Ministry's Nominations Service Writing a governance CV Shortlisted by the Nominations Service Where to find training and experience Seeking opportunities Ongoing development of governance skills and experience Shortlisted by administrating agency Once nominated Cabinet appointment process WE L COME T O THE NOMIN A TIONS SERVICE AWARENESS PREPARATION SELECTION Interested in a board role Appointment completed Writing a governance CV Shortlisted by the Nominations Service Where to find training and experience Seeking opportunities Ongoing development of governance skills and experience Shortlisted by administrating agency Once nominated Minister selects preferred candidate Cabinet appointment process R egister with the Ministry's Nominations Service WELCOME TO THE NOMINATIONS SERVICE