Wednesday, 19 June 2024 08:55

Keeping everyone 'front and centre'

Written by  Jessica Marshall
Incoming Rural Women New Zealand chief executive Marie Fitzpatrick. Incoming Rural Women New Zealand chief executive Marie Fitzpatrick.

Marie Fitzpatrick, who will take over as chief executive of Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) on 1 July, says it’s important to keep people front and centre as the world evolves and changes.

Fitzpatrick comes to the role after approximately 20 years in the public sector, with six of those years spent working in the Fisheries New Zealand team at the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

She says that when she started her work with Fisheries New Zealand, she was doing work surrounding a ‘digital transformation’.

“I guess all of my experience about this kind of human-centered part of designing and delivering services and change management… really came to the fore in that role,” she told Rural News. She says that, at the time, MPI was asking fisheries to perform a significant shift towards digital technology “in an industry that isn’t necessarily particularly sophisticated from a digital perspective”.

“People set these policies, but don’t necessarily understand the nuance of how you can use the technology on your vessel or your farm or whatever it is,” Fitzpatrick says.

“Commercial fishers are an interesting bunch as I imagine the rural sector is in general. I’m very fond of them,” she says. “I would say I’ve gotten to know them really well and I’m looking forward to learning a new primary sector group.”

Fitzpatrick says that over the course of her career she has “seen the pain” that poorly designed regulatory frameworks can cause.

“I’m really passionate about, you know, that these things that happen and often need to happen, you know, the world needs to evolve and evolve with technology and policies and things like that, but let’s keep the humans front and centre as we evolve those policies and regulations and make sure that they are something that can be absorbed effectively, to make the changes as good and effective as possible.”

Outside of work, Fitzpatrick is also co-founder of the Good Bitches Baking Charitable Trust.

She says the charity, which started in 2014, is about providing a moment of kindness to someone having a bad day.

“I guess the two universes have aligned in this job, and it feels like a good fit for me.”

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