Ginny Ellis-Kirifi talks about her role as a policy analyst

I am a policy advisor in the Intergenerational Change Team. The team’s role is to empower rangatahi (youth) to be part of decision-making at MfE. 

This involves working with key partners of MfE, such as BLAKE and Inspiring Stories, and building relationships with other rangatahi organisations and groups. 


My journey so far at MfE

I started with MfE as a Tupu Tai intern in 2021 and was placed with my current team.  At the end of the intern programme, I went back to Otago Uni to finish my master’s research on decolonising climate change with a specific focus on how we incorporate Māori and Pacific perspectives into this space. I came back to MfE in February and am on a fixed-term contract (covering parental leave) until April 2024.

I work remotely from home in Ōtepoti Dunedin.

My experience of working remotely

I love it. I was apprehensive at first. I was particularly worried about the lack of connection with my team. But I didn’t need to worry as my team checks in every day. 

I love being able to start early or late, take a walk during my lunch break and not spending time travelling to and from work. It works well for me.

Why I applied to come back to MfE

It was primarily because of the team I was in and secondly the work. Coming into the role I thought it would be intense policy work and that wasn’t what I wanted. I really wanted to be doing hands-on work with rangatahi and that is the key focus of the policy advisor role I am in.

Also the culture of MfE is ‘insane’ — it is such a great space to work in. The people are so lovely, everyone is so welcoming.  And the added benefit is that I get to work flexibly.

ginni 2

My experience as a young Pasifika woman at MfE

When I started my intern role, Julie connected with me straight away. We bonded and she connected me to Tagata Moana the Pasifika network at MfE.

Once I finished interning, I stayed connected with the network through Facebook and LinkedIn. Everyone was so supportive of me coming back to the Ministry when I was making that decision. We connect each week, with most of us working remotely, it is nice to just pause and talanoa about work and life. I feel really close to them despite being apart physically.

What I enjoy most about MfE

It’s feeling like I’m contributing to what I’m passionate about.

My passion is the research I did for my ‘masters’. I feel so lucky that I can merge my passion with my work with rangatahi. I have the freedom in my role to explore different avenues for this mahi and to support rangatahi from all different backgrounds.