Ashley Bloomfield

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Ashley Bloomfield
Ashley Bloomfield (cropped).jpg
Bloomfield in 2020
Ashley Robin Bloomfield

1965/1966 (age 54–55)
Napier, New Zealand
Alma materUniversity of Auckland
OccupationDirector-General of Health

Ashley Robin Bloomfield[1] (born 1965/1966) is a New Zealand public health official. He is the chief executive of the Ministry of Health and the country's Director-General of Health. He has been the public-facing health specialist fronting the media during the COVID-19 pandemic in New Zealand on behalf of the government, since the first press conference on 27 January 2020.

Early life and family[edit]

Bloomfield was born in Napier[2] in 1965 or 1966, one of three children of Allan Olaf Bloomfield and Myreine Alice Bloomfield (née Osborne).[3][4][5] His mother was a schoolteacher, while his father was a lieutenant colonel in the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (Territorial Force) and a manager at Mitsubishi Motors in Porirua, and was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire in the 1974 New Year Honours.[3][4][6] He grew up in Tawa, a suburb of Wellington, and was educated at Scots College, where he was head prefect,[3] dux and played 1st XV rugby.[7]

Bloomfield graduated from the University of Auckland in medicine in 1990.[8] About the same time, he married his wife, Libby, also a doctor, and the couple went on to have three children.[3]


Bloomfield completed several years of clinical work and from 1996[9] specialised in public health medicine,[10] concentrating on non-communicable disease.[11] Between 2004 and 2006, Bloomfield was the Ministry of Health's acting director of public health.[12][13] From 2006 to 2010, he was the ministry's chief public health adviser.[9]

From late 2010 to late 2011, based at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Bloomfield worked on non-communicable disease prevention and control with a global focus.[11] From 2012 to 2015, he held leading positions across district health boards with Capital & Coast District, Hutt Valley, and Wairarapa. From 2015 to 2018, Bloomfield was chief executive at Hutt Valley District Health Board.[14] In the first half of 2018, Bloomfield was seconded to the Capital & Coast District Health Board where he was interim chief executive. Since June 2018, he has been the chief executive of the country's Ministry of Health and the country's Director-General of Health.[3][11] Since he started as the ministry's Chief Executive he has attended a leadership programme at Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford.[9]

Colleagues describe Bloomfield as "measured, methodical, calm and sensible".[9] Former health reporter Tess Nichol, writing for the American online magazine Slate, described him as "New Zealand’s current obsession, an unlikely heartthrob, a mild-mannered health care hero".[15] Former prime minister, Geoffrey Palmer, remarked about Bloomfield: "It is a long time since a public servant has become so well-known."[16]


  1. ^ "Wai 2575, #A59" (PDF). Waitangi Tribunal, Department of Justice. 7 September 2018. Retrieved 25 April 2020.
  2. ^ Hyde, Sahiban (20 May 2020). "Covid 19 coronavirus: Ashley Bloomfield stuns boy, 6, with handwritten response to letter". Hawke's Bay Today. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e Fisher, David (11 April 2020). "Ashley Bloomfield's rise to the top – the inside story". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Allan Bloomfield death notice". New Zealand Herald. 15 February 2017. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  5. ^ "Bloomfield–Osborne". Hawke's Bay Photo News. 3 (5). April 1961. p. 15. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  6. ^ "No. 46163". The London Gazette (2nd supplement). 1 January 1974. p. 36.
  7. ^ "Covid-19 coronavirus: Inside Dr Ashley Bloomfield's work and family bubble". New Zealand Herald. 7 May 2020. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
  8. ^ Thomas, Rachel (28 March 2020). "The face of the Covid-19 response: Who is Ashley Bloomfield?". The Spinoff. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  9. ^ a b c d Macdonald, Nikki (7 March 2020). "Coronavirus: Ashley Bloomfield is the face of NZ's virus defence". Stuff. Retrieved 18 March 2020. After taking the job – and after attending a leadership programme at Oxford University – Bloomfield said he subscribed to a 'convene and collaborate' and 'ensuring direction not giving direction' model of leadership, rather than command and control.
  10. ^ "Cometh the hour…". Otago Daily Times. 21 March 2020. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  11. ^ a b c "Introducing Ashley Bloomfield". Ministry of Health. 13 June 2018. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
  12. ^ Kiriona, Renee (28 April 2004). "Check for Sars symptoms, doctors told". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
  13. ^ Errol, Kiong; Johnston, Martin (18 January 2006). "Bird flu campaign to target 1.4m households". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
  14. ^ "Dr Ashley Bloomfield: Director-General of Health and Chief Executive". Ministry of Health Manatū Hauoa. New Zealand Government. 25 November 2019. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
  15. ^ Nichol, Tess (6 April 2020). "The extremely competent, somewhat boring civil servant who has New Zealanders' hearts aflutter". Slate. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  16. ^ Palmer, Geoffrey (10 May 2020). "Geoffrey Palmer: Hallelujah! New Zealand government works". The Spinoff. Retrieved 11 May 2020.