Congratulations to three Corrections staff members who were recognised for their extraordinary contribution to New Zealand at two separate events in Wellington.

Operational Support Manager Rita Ale and Manager Youth Ange Coyle both received the New Zealand Public Service Medal for meritorious service at the Public Service Day Awards at Government House.

Community Work Probation Officer Nicholas (Nick) Eagland was recognised for his outstanding spirit of service and received the Public Service Commissioner’s Commendation for Excellence. Nick received his award at a special ceremony held at Parliament.

About our award recipients

Rita Ale – Operational Support Manager, Hawke’s Bay Regional Prison

At Government House (L-R): Chief Executive Jeremy Lightfoot, Rita Ale, Ange Coyle, Chief Custodial Officer Neil Beales Nominated by Prison Director George Massingham, Rita is a trusted and inclusive leader who exemplifies what it means to be a public servant. She is an incredible role model to both staff and the men in Hawke’s Bay Regional Prison. Rita exemplifies the Samoan proverb ‘O le ala o le pule o le Tautua, the path to leadership is through service.’

Rita leads many of the cultural events at Hawke’s Bay Regional Prison, with a Pasifika focus. Recently, she facilitated events for Samoan Language Week, which involved teaching the men in our prison how to cook traditional Samoan food and participate in Samoan dance. Feedback from the men included that it helped them feel connected to their culture and have pride in themselves.

Rita leads by example as Deputy Chair of the Inclusion and Diversity Council and is passionate about advocating and championing the interests of all staff, so they feel comfortable bringing their full selves in work.

Rita leads on Health, Safety and Wellbeing (HS&W) at Hawke’s Bay Regional Prison. Because of her involvement, their HS&W committee is now functioning well with an increase in numbers and involvement from our Health & Safety Reps.

As Rita is passionate about staff and their wellbeing, she also leads the site’s recruiting efforts; her networking has helped find new staff members and resulted in an uplift in applications.

Ange Coyle – Manager Youth, National Office

Ange Coyle receiving her awardNominated by Chief Executive Jeremy Lightfoot and Chief Custodial Officer Neil Beales, with the support of Veterans' Affairs Ange is the founder and chairperson of the Corrections Veterans’ Network which supports ex-military staff to find connections and peer support.

Ange has got behind our mental wellbeing focus and organised an Oranga Challenge initiative across the Department because the veteran population can experience mental health issues. The challenge, now in its third year, is an important component of our wellbeing focus, runs from 11 October to 11 November (Remembrance Day) and more than 270 staff participated in the 2023 challenge.

Ange was the driving force behind the Service in the Public Sector hui for ex-military from the Public Sector to connect with each other.

She has also shown her commitment to ensuring young people in our management receive the best services possible. She has formed a staff youth champion network with 300 youth champions who are passionate about working with youth and young adults. During Youth Week she organised and hosted a successful cross agency hui to connect and share practices and ideas.

Nicholas (Nick) Eagland – Community Work Probation Officer, Palmerston North

(L-R) Public Service Commissioner Peter Hughes, Community Work Probation Officer Nick Eagland, and Deputy Public Service Commissioner Heather BaggottNominated by then Service Manager, Laura Bebarfald, Nick has been a formidable force in creating a partnership with the Howard League. He has played a key role in supporting more than 1,000 people to obtain a driver’s licence. He drives people to the AA, revises with them, and takes the time to read out questions for those who struggle to read. His work in the Work and Livings Skills programmes has been outstanding, running cooking and budgeting courses.

Nick is the epitome of someone who is serving the public because he cares and has the interests of those we work with at the forefront of his mind.

The work Nick is doing every day is making a real difference to the lives of New Zealanders, providing them the basic skills and support to thrive in the community while also showing kindness, respect, and patience to those who are not lucky enough to experience this in their day to day lives.

For more information on Public Service Day Awards, visit the Public Service Commission’s website.