Sir Ashley Bloomfield
Public Policy Impact Institute Chair, University of Auckland

Sir Ashley Bloomfield was New Zealand’s Director-General of Health from June 2018 to July 2022 and was the public face of the health response to the COVID-19 pandemic. During that time, he helmed NZ’s pandemic response, fronting over 300 press conferences and providing advice on a range of unprecedented measures, including lockdowns, border closures, and vaccine mandates. 

Under the most intense pressure imaginable, he helped shape decisions that ultimately saw New Zealand achieve one of the best health responses in the world, with the lowest death rates. His near-daily presence led to an infatuation never before seen for an unelected official, with his face adorning T-shirts and tea towels, countless memes, songs and even a brand of hot sauce.

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