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EMPA makes Manaia King a more empathetic leader

23 June 2022

News and media


When you undertake an ANZSOG Executive Master of Public Administration (EMPA) you are part of a cohort of experienced public sector leaders from across agencies and jurisdictions who can take advantage of the knowledge of a unique group of academics and practitioners.

The EMPA can be career-changing for participants, who leave with new skills and a new ability to think strategically, as well as a deeper understanding of their own leadership.

Manaia King is the General Manager Māori Partnerships and Programmes, Ministry of Social Development, in Aotearoa New Zealand, and was part of the 2019 EMPA cohort.

He says that, after training as a lawyer, he decided to make his career in the public service because his upbringing had given him a passion to do something to improve the lives of people.

“My motivation has always been about giving back, it has always been about service, about others, my family, my whanau, my community and generally,” he said.

“I hope my work could help people achieve their own aspirations and what they wanted to do in life.”

“I am working to make the connections to bridge those polices and the way we deliver services to the lived experience of the people that we are here to provide that support to.”

Mr King said that the EMPA had helped him to think more explicitly about public value and how best to deliver it.

“The EMPA really reinforced my self-determined view of what my leadership style is, and that is adaptive leadership and it helped me to piece together what it means to be a leader in the current public service environment,” he said.

“As a manager I have approximately 50 staff under me all of whom had personal pressures and matters to deal with over COVID. The EMPA has helped me to be a more empathetic leader and to realise people are an extension of myself and my leadership responsibility.”

“Another thing that has changed is my use of my immediate colleagues and the important views they bring to a scenario. I understand that my view is only part of the picture, and my job isn’t to have all the answers.”

“I would say to anyone who gets the opportunity to be part of the EMPA – just do it. I have made friends for life from the program, and it has exposed me to different people and organisational cultures.”

Find out more about ANZSOG’s Foundation Programs

Executive Master of Public Administration (EMPA)

A part-time postgraduate qualification developed and delivered by ANZSOG exclusively for high-performing public sector managers.

Executive Fellows Program (EFP)

A program that challenges senior public service executives working in the public domain to develop new leadership perspectives in a contemporary and highly interactive setting.

Towards Strategic Leadership (TSL)

A unique program that helps public service leaders develop the qualities needed to thrive in a senior executive role: a strategic outlook, political astuteness, personal resilience and the ability to reflect and learn continuously.

Deputies Leadership Program 

A program designed for new Deputies in the public sector with a focus on frank conversations with practitioners and helping participants to grow their understanding of their leadership styles, their drivers and their aspirations – and building resilience to lead with integrity.