Oranga Tamariki Chief Executive steps down

Published: January 20, 2021 · Updated: March 1, 2021

Gráinne Moss has decided to step down as Secretary for Children and the Chief Executive of Oranga Tamariki.

Mrs Moss said it had been a privilege to lead the Ministry for over four years through a time of significant transformation, challenge and change.

“I would like to acknowledge all those at Oranga Tamariki and our partner organisations who work tirelessly in some of the toughest environments.” said Mrs Moss.

"I am proud of all that we have achieved over the last four years. However, I believe it is the right time for the agency for me to step down and make way for new leadership. I feel the focus has been on me rather than how we work together to improve the well-being of children.”

Public Service Commissioner Peter Hughes said Mrs Moss is a dedicated public servant and leader who had made a number of significant improvements in what was one of the biggest and toughest roles in the Public Service.

During Mrs Moss’s tenure at Oranga Tamariki, fewer children and young people have entered care, social worker caseloads have been reduced, investment in iwi/Maori services has doubled and the agency has developed new whānau care partnerships with iwi and Māori organisations.

The Commissioner said he respected Mrs Moss’ decision to stand down.

“I commend Mrs Moss for doing what is, at this time, in the best interests of the agency” said Mr Hughes. “What she has done today is selfless.”

The Commissioner has appointed Sir Wira Gardiner as Acting Chief Executive.

Sir Wira has whakapapa links to Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Pikiao, Te Whānau-ā-Apanui and te Whakatōhea. He has been involved in significant interactions between the Crown and Māori iwi on treaty settlements and negotiating between parties on complex issues.

He was the founding director of the Waitangi Tribunal, head of the Iwi Transition Agency, and founding Chief Executive of Te Puni Kokiri, the Ministry of Maori Development.

Mrs Moss has accepted a new role as the Chief Executive leading the Public Service’s pay equity work. Peter Hughes said this is one of the government’s top priorities and it is great to have an experienced leader to drive progress across the public sector.

The Commissioner said the body of work needed to progress pay equity is significant.

“Mrs Moss led the successful pay equity claim for social workers at Oranga Tamariki- Ministry for Children and was also part of the team which developed and delivered pay equity to aged care workers. As such she has significant experience and expertise.”

Mrs Moss will move into her new role on 12 April 2021. Her initial contract as Chief Executive for Pay Equity will run until 31 March 2022.

Mrs Moss’s last day as Chief Executive of Oranga Tamariki will be 28 February 2021. Sir Wira will join the agency on 1 February 2021 and begin his role as Acting Secretary for Children and Chief Executive of Oranga Tamariki on 1 March 2021. 

A recruitment process will begin shortly to appoint a permanent Chief Executive.

Media queries: Grahame Armstrong 021 940 457 or grahame.armstrong@ssc.govt.nz