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Led by Kane Patena our Interim Chief Executive, our leadership team guides WorkSafe in influencing businesses to carry out their responsibilities for managing risks, and ensuring work is healthy and safe.

Kane Patena – Interim Chief Executive

[image] photo of Kane Patena

Kane (Ngāti Hauā) joined WorkSafe in July 2023, having previously been Director of Land Transport and Group General Manager Regulatory at Waka Kotahi since 2019. 

Kane’s extensive senior leadership experience includes his role as General Manager Strategy and Governance at Wellington City Council, where he played a key role in building the Council's partnership with iwi. Prior to that, Kane was a Partner and Crown Prosecutor at law firm Meredith Connell, and he has also headed the national investigations and integrity services group at Housing New Zealand.

Rachel Gully – Deputy Chief Executive, Corporate

[image] Photo of Rachel Gully

As Deputy Chief Executive, Corporate Rachel is accountable for leading the design and delivery of our commercial investment and people strategies to help enable the business to deliver our statement of intent and creating a work environment that is consistent with our values.

Rachel joined WorkSafe in 2023. Rachel’s leadership experience includes her role as Director for People and Culture at Te Whatu Ora – Capital, Coast and Hutt Valley, where she led the emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the health response to the vaccine mandate, and supported the District Health Board reforms into a single entity, Te Whatu Ora.

Rachel was previously Group Manager People and Culture at Oranga Tamariki. Prior to that, she held a number of HR leadership roles including at the Civil Aviation Authority, Customs, and the Ministry of Health.

Paula Collins – Deputy Chief Executive, Equity, Partnerships and Intervention Design

[image] photo of Paula Collins

As Deputy Chief Executive, Equity, Partnerships and Intervention Design Paula is responsible for leading the incorporation of te ao Māori across WorkSafe and ensuring the organisation has strong foundations to support the Crown as a partner under te Tiriti o Waitangi and the Treaty of Waitangi and meet its statutory obligations to Iwi/Māori.

Paula (Ngā Rauru, Ngāti Ruanui, Ngāti Toa Rangatira) joined WorkSafe in July 2023, bringing extensive executive leadership experience across a raft of specialities, with a particular focus on equitable outcomes and transformation.

Paula’s prior roles include CE and DCE roles in education, including leading the merger of Careers New Zealand with the Tertiary Education Commission. As regional commissioner for the Department of Corrections, Paula led transformation governance boards, and the review and refresh of the Department's strategy. She has also held board roles across health, education, social services, sport and recreation, and te reo Māori.

Neil Cook – Deputy Chief Executive, Strategy Implementation

image photo of neil cook

As Deputy Chief Executive, Strategy and Insights, Neil provides direction to WorkSafe’s Strategy and Insights functions and is responsible for leading the design of WorkSafe’s organisational strategy. Overseeing our technical functions and expertise, including strategy and policy, insights, communications and channels, Neil ensures we are meeting the expectations of the regulated community and our external stakeholders.

Neil joined WorkSafe in January 2024 to lead the implementation of a new organisational strategy before stepping into the Acting Deputy Chief Executive, Strategy and Insights role. Prior to this, Neil had a key role in redesigning regulatory functions at NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi, including leading a comprehensive regulated fees review. Neil’s varied career in New Zealand and overseas in consulting and central and local government has focussed on organisational development with an emphasis on navigating complex and challenging environments.

Mohi Apou – Tākai Aronui

Mohi Apou

Mohi is a descendant of Ngā Rauru Kītahi and Whanganui Iwi.

Mohi joined WorkSafe in 2018 and began in the new role of Tākai Aronui/National Advisor Māori in July 2020. He has a Master’s degree in Mātauranga Māori (Philosophy) with expertise in creating engagement strategies with a Māori world view. He is a leader in building collaborative cultural inter-relationships that spans 20 years with expertise in the use of facilitating forums for the military, Iwi groups, and local and regional authorities.

Mohi has provided cultural expertise on a parliament level and has navigated complex discussions between Iwi groups and Ministers. He has also worked for the Ministry of Economic Development, Ministry of Education, NZQA, Crown Law Office, Te Puni Kokiri and the Office of Treaty Settlements and has built an extensive network base of Iwi and Government influences across Aotearoa. His years in the Armed services of the Royal NZ Navy and as an Iwi Liaison spokesperson has led to his experience working within cultural, social, and environmental forums.

He has empowered, coached, and mentored many people in Tikanga Māori as a Senior Academic Advisor and Senior Lecturer at Te Wānanga o Raukawa.