Te Kaihautū | New People Leader Development helps new people leaders identify the skills, behaviours, and mindset needed to succeed in their new role.

Starting a new role leading other people for the first time can be one of the most difficult transitions in your career. You’ll have some great skills already, but as you move into this people leader role what will make you successful will be quite different.

We designed Te Kaihautū for those who are within the first 12 months of transitioning into a new role managing people. We looked at various learning and development frameworks and engaged with agencies across the Public Service to identify the key development areas needed. These frame the foundation of the programme.

Paoro atu ai te reo o te kaihautū ki ngā kaihoe e ū ai ki te taki. He rau hoe e haere ngātahi ana i te wai, e anga whakamua ai te waka ki tōna tauranga.

The song of the kaihautū resounds over the people to keep the beat. A multitude of paddles cutting through water as one, propelling the waka forward to its destination.

 In te ao Māori (the Māori world view), a kaihautū is a leader on a waka that sets the beat for the people rowing to propel them forward to reach their destination. As a kaihautū, you will experience many changes in your journey from being a team member who rows the waka to a kaihautū that sets the pace. To navigate your team safely through the shifting currents of your environment you must make some key mindset shifts as you move into a role of caretaker of your people and the work you all do to support your organisation.

Key areas

Te Kaihautū focuses on 7 development priorities that build on characteristics from the Leadership Success Profile: Leadership Success Profile [PDF, 153KB]. It is aimed to help leaders shift their skills, behaviours and mindset from a team member to people leader.

Below are the seven key development areas and the transitions needed to become a successful people leader.

Te Tirohanga | Mindset 
As a leader, I understand that people will look up to me and treat me differently. I act in a way that shows I represent the organisation.

Te Whakawhanaungatanga | Connect
I build relationships with my team and across my organisation. I seek out and listen to diverse points of view.

Te hononga o te Māori me te Karauna | Māori Crown Relationship
As a treaty responsive leader I support the Crown’s relationship with Māori by building cultural capability and inclusive spaces that value difference.

Te Whāinga | Purpose 
I understand my team’s role in delivering our organisation’s strategy and purpose, and I connect my team to the big picture.

Te Whakatutuki | Achieve
I achieve through others by setting clear expectations and planning, prioritising, and delegating work.

Te Arotake | Feedback
I seek feedback and give timely, clear, and constructive feedback and have the tough conversations.

Te Whakawhanake | Develop
I have regular development conversations and coach my team to be the best that they can be.

Designed for leaders in Aotearoa

Throughout the programme, we’ve embedded te ao Māori concepts and perspectives, created opportunities for you to practice te reo Māori and learn about tikanga Māori.

The topics and resources included have been chosen with you in mind. We include a range of examples of best practice internationally as well as resources based on the leadership context of Aotearoa.

Eligibility and cost

You should be within the first 12 months of transition into a new people leader role. It should be your first time managing others.

The cost to attend a LDC delivered Te Kaihautū programme is $2500 per member agency participant, or $4000 for non-member agency participants (excl. GST). 

Programme options

The programme can be completed through self-paced learning or as a face-to-face or virtual programme with facilitated sessions. Talk to your HR team for more information or learn more about the different options below.

The cost to attend the New People Leader virtual programme is $2500 per member agency participant, or $4000 for non-member agency participants (excl. GST). 

Held over 9-10 months, this comprehensive fully virtual programme uses 7 development and action guides and regular facilitated sessions so new people leaders can reflect, explore and practice new skills.

Online sessions are designed to be interactive and engaging, with facilitators skilled in using online features such as the chat function and breakout rooms so participants can fully contribute and connect.  

Regular peer learning groups create a safe space so you can network, share insights and the discuss challenges you encounter as a new leader.

The NPL 180° assessment tool is included free of charge so you can gain feedback from your manager on your leadership strengths and development priorities at the beginning and after the programme. 


The programme begins with a 1.5 hour kick-off session so you can meet the other participants and learn more about the programme. Your manager will also attend a short kick-off session to gain a broad overview and understand how best to support you during this programme.

You will then focus on 1 development priority each month. Each month you’ll need about:

  • 2-4 hours to reflect and go through a development and action guide.
  • 3.5 hours to attend a facilitated session with your peers.
  • 1-1.5 hours to meet with you peer learning group.

There are also 2 connection sessions (1.5-hours each) during the programme so you can maintain connection with your virtual cohort.


  • A small virtual cohort (12-16 people) of Public Service leaders from around Aotearoa.
  • Develop a network of colleagues who are transitioning into new people leader roles in the Public Service.
  • Passionate and experienced facilitators skilled at supporting and challenging leaders.
  • If you belong to one of our member agencies you’ll receive member agency rates.

Register for the next programme

View the schedule of dates for the next programme or register. You can also register your interest for future programmes.

LDC delivered programmes

Several agencies within the Public Service are now running their own Te Kaihautū programmes internally. 

These programmes use the 7 development and action guides, NPL 180° assessment tool and usually include facilitated sessions and peer learning groups.


You’ll need to check with your agency on how they have decided to structure the facilitated sessions and peer learning groups to fully understand the time commitment expected.

We suggest you allow about 2-4 hours per development and action guide.


  • Develop a network of colleagues from who have also transitioned into new people leader roles.
  • Facilitated by learning and development practitioners in your organisation or pre-qualified facilitators who are skilled at supporting and challenging participants.
  • Small cohort of leaders who are from the same organisation or organisations.  


We recommend you contact your human resources or learning and development department. If your agency doesn’t offer this programme, you can join the next LDC delivered programme.

The self-guided option gives leaders access to the 7 development and action guides so you can work through them at your own pace, with your manager’s support.

Each development and action guide contains learning materials for you to watch, read and engage with. You can also choose to complete the NPL 180° diagnostic tool to gather feedback from your manager and reflect on your leadership strengths and development areas.

Our comprehensive Self-paced Participant Guide outlines the key components and also has advice around finding a mentor to help support you with this programme.

After the first Mindset Development and Action Guide, you can prioritise the order in which you complete the topics based on your needs.


We suggest you allow about 2-4 hours per development and action guide. We also encourage you to get support from your manager and/or mentor.


  • Fit development around your schedule.
  • Programme covers all the key areas with materials designed especially for leaders in New Zealand Public Service.
  • If you’re employed by one of our member agencies you can access the self-paced learning resources free of charge.


Self-paced Participant Guide [DOCX, 742 KB] (member only content, you need to be logged in to access this)

Self-paced Manager Guide [DOCX, 594 KB] (member only content, you need to be logged in to access this)

Development and action guides 

Find dates and times for upcoming cohorts of Te Kaihautū | New People Leader Development. 

Upcoming programmes

“I’ve learnt so many skills and approaches that can help me as a leader to better support my team. There isn’t just one way…Also understanding how I can grow and continue to grow with each experience”

“I enjoyed the multiple ways I could engage with the content. I found the self-learning and group sessions really useful. The facilitator was fantastic at encouraging conversations”

“The practical ideas and tips for handling new or difficult leadership situations. I was able to test and apply these immediately in my job.”

“It was great to talk to others who are facing similar issues or challenges. It is comforting to know I’m not the only one. We could discuss approaches that would work.”