Leadership team

Chief Executive and Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade | John Allen

John Allen was appointed to his current position in July 2009. As Chief Executive and Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) he leads the Ministry as the Government's chief adviser on foreign and trade policy, official development assistance, international law, and diplomatic and consular issues. He is responsible to the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Disarmament and Arms Control.

Before taking up his role at the MFAT, John served as the Chief Executive of New Zealand Post for six years. He joined New Zealand Post in 1994 and held a number of senior management roles prior to his appointment as Chief Executive. In his earlier career, John reached the position of Partner at law firm Rudd Watts & Stone, and was a visiting lecturer in Law at Victoria University of Wellington.


Deputy Secretary International Development | Craig Hawke

Craig Hawke is Deputy Secretary for the International Development Group, managing the New Zealand Aid Programme and advising the Government on international development issues.

Craig is an economist with a background in trade, finance and international development issues. He has a strong commitment to development in the Pacific. Craig was previously the Director - Partnerships, Humanitarian, and Disaster Management Division and the Director - Pacific in the International Development Group within MFAT and worked in its predecessor NZAID. Craig has held a number of roles in the development programme, including Deputy Director Asia/Africa and as manager of New Zealand’s aid programme to the Cook Islands. Craig has had offshore assignments in Samoa, Korea and Australia. In his earlier career, Craig worked in parliament as a private secretary for Ministers.


Director - Development Strategy and Effectiveness Division | Rachel Fry

Rachel Fry leads the division responsible for strategic advice, international development policy, ensuring the New Zealand Aid Programme meets development effectiveness commitments, results measurement and reporting, strategic evaluation and research, cross-cutting issues, policy coherence and procurement.

Rachel’s career in MFAT has encompassed international development, trade negotiation, foreign policy and organisational responsibilities.  She brings to her role a commitment to development effectiveness and building strong connections across all pillars of New Zealand’s international engagement.  Rachel’s recent roles have included Director of the Australia Division, Ambassador to the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and Finland, and Lead Negotiator for the New Zealand-Thailand Closer Economic Partnership Agreement.  Her earlier experience in development was as Deputy Director for bilateral programmes in Polynesia from 2000 to 2002, as well as leading work on the re-integration of the international development function into the wider Ministry in 2009.  Rachel’s other offshore experience was as Deputy Head of Mission at the New Zealand Embassy in Paris and a posting in Canberra which focused on CER.  


Director - Global Bilateral Division | Cecile Hillyer

As Director of Global Bilateral Division, Cecile is responsible for targeted programmes in the priority regions and countries of ASEAN, Timor–Leste, Afghanistan, Africa, and Latin America.

Cecile comes to the position after a career with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Her focus as a linguist has meant that three of her four postings offshore have utilised her proficiency in foreign languages: Moscow, Noumea, and Mexico City (London being the fourth). The Noumea and Mexico City appointments were as Consul-General and Ambassador respectively and also covered French Polynesia (from Noumea), Cuba, Venezuela, El Salvador, and Guatemala (from Mexico).

Cecile's Wellington-based experience has included work on the Pacific, economic issues, Australia, the United Nations, and internal audit.


Director - Sustainable Economic Development | Mike Burrell

Mike Burrell is responsible for managing the sector development division of the New Zealand Aid Programme. His division focuses on sustainable economic development (agriculture, fisheries and tourism) and human development (education and health), underpinned by investments in energy, infrastructure and governance. 

Mike is an economic development specialist. Prior to joining MFAT he was Chief Executive of Aquaculture New Zealand. He was previously with consulting firm LECG, where he advised industry, government, and international agencies on economic development, strategy, and public policy.

Mike’s development career spans work with the ADB, AusAID, NZAID, Oxfam and VSO, with a focus on the Pacific. He was a VSO volunteer in Vanuatu and has a Master’s Degree in development management from the London School of Economics. 


Director - Partnerships, Humanitarian and Multilateral Division | Deb Collins

The Division covers New Zealand Aid Programme engagement:

  • with Multilateral and Pacific Regional Organisations
  • with New Zealand state, private and NGO sector partners
  • on humanitarian and disaster risk management issues
  • on coordination with other donors
  • on human rights issues

In previous roles in the Ministry Deb has been Deputy Director of Humanitarian and Pacific Regional programmes, and Development Manager, Latin America.  Prior to joining the Ministry in 2003, Deb was a manager at the Office of Treaty Settlements with responsibility for leading policy and negotiations on the settlement of historical claims under the Treaty of Waitangi, and a policy officer with the National Council for Voluntary Organisations in the United Kingdom.