News | 5 May 2021
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20 Twenty One: Julie Sleep

Having joined Wellington City Council just before the turn of the century, Julie Sleep has a wealth of knowledge in the public health sector and the benefits of the Pathways to Employment programme.

Julie Sleep smiling in a white top with a cafe behind her, pictured in a polaroid with the words 20 Twenty One: Celebrating our people.

Julie Sleep loves Miramar. She hasn’t moved too far from there in her lifetime for one big reason – her family.

“It’s where the roots are. I’m Wellington born and bred. I grew up in Miramar, spent a short time in other suburbs but then I went back.”

Her love of Pōneke led her from Woolworths to Wellington City Council in 1999, and she’s been here ever since.

Originally joining as a team leader in the building inspections area, Julie held a variety of team leader and manager roles in building consents and business support.

But a desire to serve customers again and “getting back to the work I really enjoyed” brought Julie to her current role – Approvals & Process Innovation Team Leader in Public Health.

Julie’s role is busy and varied, leading an amazing team of administrators processing applications for alcohol licences, food registration, dog registration and Bylaw approvals – processing around 16,000 applications each year.

The opportunity to help improve things and make things work better for customers is a major reason Julie has stayed with the Council.

“I really believe in what we are here to do,” she says.

“I love seeing my team grow and develop.”

A wide yellow graphic with the words 20 twenty one, celebrating our people, in black.

Part of Public Health’s role is in food registration, or as she puts it, “making sure customers don’t get poisoned”.

“We do alcohol licensing work, which is all about what’s good for the community. Alcohol is a drug and it does have an impact.”

Dog registrations are a large part of confessed cat-person Julie’s role, and is providing her some of the most exciting work she’s ever had here.


“I’m not a dog person,” Julie laughs. “I love cats but I understand the role pets play in a person’s life.


“A couple of years ago we brought in an online payment system that made everyone’s lives easier.”


Julie’s work made the paperwork for over 14,000 Wellington dog owners less time-consuming, and her team is currently working on a new and exciting change to be announced in mid-May.


The Council has provided Julie the opportunity to change roles in her time here – a major factor in her ongoing tenure.

“I probably wouldn’t still be here if I couldn’t move around,” Julie ponders.

“The Council really supports learning so the opportunity to support my team while they do courses but also exposure to other things by going on secondments.”

While Julie says she might not have been knowledgeable about her areas of expertise when she joined the Council, changes in laws have kept her on her toes and thirsty for new information.

An office with five colleagues sitting and standing around the room.
Julie (second from right) enjoying the company of her colleagues in the office.

“I’ve been through three major legislative changes in my time here.

“Although I came into the team knowing not a lot, law changes meant I had to come up to speed quickly. I really enjoyed learning that.”

One programme Julie is an ardent supporter of is the Council’s Pathways to Employment initiative.

He Ara Whai Mahi - Pathways to Employment, a partnership between Council and the Ministry of Social Development, was piloted in 2016. The programme gives young adults on the Jobseeker Support benefit who are aged between 18-24 years the chance to work for four weeks in a professional working environment.

“It’s one of the best things the Council has ever done. I love having the opportunity to help someone gain experience and then being able to be a referee for them after they’ve been with us for a month.

“It’s not about there being a job at the end. It’s the benefit to the community who are struggling to get work experience.”

Julie has no plans to ever leave the city she has spent her entire life in – her family roots and love of the region are keeping her put.

“I wouldn’t dream of living anywhere else,” she grins.

“I love the weather. I know that’s weird to say but no two days are the same. I don’t want to live somewhere where I can get up every day and it’s fine.

“My kids and grandkids are still Wellington based. I’m really privileged that they chose to make Wellington their home and I get to see them often.

“They come every Sunday for dinner!”

It’s 2021, so we’re sharing stories about 21 of our people who have worked at Council for 20 years or more. Find out more about the series in this story.