Te mahi kia pai ake a Aotearoa mō te iwi o Aotearoa

Making New Zealand better for New Zealanders

Our purpose

“Ko tā te Tari Taiwhenua he whakarato me te hono i ngā iwi, ngā hapori me te kāwanatanga ki te hanga motu haumaru, tōnui, whai mana hoki.”

“We serve and connect people, communities and government to build a safe, prosperous and respected nation.”

We’re there for people during some of life’s biggest moments, recording the marriages, civil unions, births, and deaths of New Zealanders. Every New Zealander can show their connection to Aotearoa New Zealand through our national identity documents, such as passports and citizenship. We regulate to make New Zealand a safer place for New Zealanders. We also preserve, and make accessible, heritage and Government records so that there is a history of what has been before us. This helps us to keep our unique past alive, so we can pass on our culture, traditions and way of living to future generations. It’s also a way to celebrate what we’ve achieved as a nation, and to honour those who have passed on.

Responding to Ministerial priorities

We have supported our seven Ministers’ priorities to deliver better wellbeing for New Zealanders. We have worked together with other government agencies to break down silos in order to support programmes of work that help solve the challenges of delivering relevant services to New Zealanders.

We highlight some examples of the work we have undertaken in response to these priorities in Part 2 and Part 3 of this report.

  • $1m allocated to Ethnic Communities Development Fund after Christchurch attacks

  • Led cross-agency team to review NZ’s three waters system

  • Allocated nearly $16m of funding for marae revitalisation

Our services enable Kiwis to participate in daily life, and we ensure that people can use them conveniently – how, where and when they choose. We safeguard information which is important to New Zealanders and make it available when needed. We’re making sure people can confidently engage with government in an evolving digital world. The sections following showcase some of the ways we’re making New Zealand better for New Zealanders.

Transforming service delivery

We help government agencies to deliver services to New Zealanders in ways that work for them. We are transforming the experience people have using our services and those across government. People want to use government services on their terms – how, when and where it suits them. The radical transformation of public services we are leading across government, enabled by ICT, will make these changes possible.

  • Launched Digital Inclusion Blueprint in May

  • Issued record high of 736,208 passports

  • Over 86% of customers found our identity and life-events services easy to use*


*Customer Experience Survey 2018/19, which is run by Research NZ.

We have made a difference

Short to medium term results

Over time, customers have found it easier to interact with the Department and other Government agencies; and they can access more integrated services in ways that best suit them. We have seen positive changes in year-on-year trends as we work to integrate citizen-centric services and radically transform public services to improve results for New Zealanders and Government.

Public sector agencies have also saved costs through greater use of common capabilities. The ongoing, sustainable savings of over $100 million per year can be reprioritised towards activities to improve results for New Zealanders. This has been delivered through our work as lead agency, managing the portfolio of common capability products and contracts.

Integrated citizen-centric services

Over the last decade there has been a substantial increase in the number of people accessing online government services. This trend has flattened in recent years, as agencies progress their significant service delivery transformation programmes. There has also been a steady increase in customer satisfaction and ease of access with online transactions.

See table: Integrated citizen-centric services. [PDF 60kb]

Digital environment

We are making it easier for New Zealanders to access services from anywhere, at any time. One way we’re doing this is by enabling New Zealanders to give permission for us to share their information with partner agencies, so they don’t need to provide the same information multiple times.

Several of our services are centred around the digital environment. This includes the award-winning SmartStart service, the Online Passports Service, the Modernising Marriages project, RealMe and Te Hokinga ā Wairua End of Life Service. The new RealMe Now service allows New Zealanders to have their identity verified entirely online for several government services, without the need to complete paperwork or visit an office. We’ve also continued to work with public libraries, increasing the number of libraries able to deliver digital and physical services to their communities.

Recognising the rise in social media customer service, we established the @nzpassports Twitter handle as an additional channel to provide support to customers.

See table: Digital Environment. [PDF 55kb]

Progress in longer term results

The target of 70% of New Zealanders’ most common transactions with government are completed in a digital environment by 2017/18 was discontinued by the current government, and as such, our result in this area is no longer available.

As at 30 June 2019, we continued to see in excess of $100 million saved per annum, by drawing on common capabilities which allow government agencies to improve business efficiencies. This has resulted in cumulative savings of over $230 million to 30 June 2019.

Performance information up until 2017/18 is provided below:

Performance chart 2012 to 2017. 2012/13: 37%, 2013/14: 39%, 2014/15: 45%, 2015/16: 50%, 2016/17: 58%, 2017/18: 66%

Measure: 70%* of New Zealanders’ most common transactions with government are completed in a digital environment by 2017/18 (Source: Department of Internal Affairs).

*This measure has not been required to be reported since 30 December 2017, and results are no longer available.

Case Study

Digital Inclusion

All New Zealanders should be able to participate in, contribute to, and benefit from the digital world. As a greater number of Government services go online, it’s vital that our services are easy and efficient for citizens to access – when, where and how they choose.

Some New Zealanders in lower socio-economic communities, who are older, who live rurally, or who have disabilities are just some of the people who can’t use the reliable, fast and convenient internet access that so much of our society relies on.

The Digital Inclusion Blueprint- Te Mahere mō te Whakauranga Matihiko and Action Plan, launched in May, is the Government’s commitment to bridging that gap and ensuring everyone can benefit from the online world.

The Blueprint defines being ‘digitally included’ as having convenient access to the internet, and the ability to use it confidently. This focus reflects the way most people currently interact with the digital world and acknowledges that more and more services and day-to-day activities are going online. We’re working with other agencies, communities, iwi and businesses to ensure the services, products and information we provide are accessible for everyone – recognising that sometimes this means providing offline alternatives.

The Blueprint identifies what New Zealanders need to be digitally included and formalises our role in achieving digital inclusion. Our commitment to this journey is all part of our bigger picture: Making New Zealand better for New Zealanders.

More information about the Digital Inclusion Blueprint and Action Plan is available at www.digital.govt.nz.

Case Study

Death Documents

In partnership with the Ministry of Health, we introduced Death Documents Online, a digital tool for medical practitioners to securely and easily complete the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) and Cremations Forms online.

This new service significantly reduces the risk of errors in information provided, creates an efficient and timely service, and helps to avoid additional stress to families of the deceased.

The project team followed a customer-centred design approach, meaning that medical practitioners and funeral directors were heavily involved in determining how the process would work and what it would look like.

Before the launch of Death Documents, the MCCD was a paper form requiring the handwritten transcription of information for the death registration form. The MCCD was then sent by post to the Ministry of Health and could take months to get into the system.

The new service means both medical practitioners and funeral directors can complete documentation online. This is in one user-friendly form (rather than multiple paper-based ones), from anywhere - with built in help, validation and guidance. Once completed, documents are automatically submitted to the Ministry of Health.

The Death Documents service has resulted in faster, more accurate notification of death to the Ministry of Health and to the health sector. Funeral directors can immediately access the online Medical Certificate of Cause of Death and then electronically send the death notification to Births, Deaths and Marriages.

This service transformation allows us to promptly issue death certificates without error. Timely issuance of the death certificate reduces the emotional and financial stress for the bereaved in what is already a difficult time by enabling them to access services and entitlements.

Making this process easier for our customers during difficult times like this is just one way we are working to make New Zealand better for New Zealanders.

Stronger more resilient communities

As an enabler of stronger communities and social cohesion, we aim to provide or design services with benefits that ultimately accrue to the community. This sees us directly supporting communities, hapū and iwi to be strong and cohesive, and enabling effective institutions, including supporting charities, that provide opportunities for participation and connection within and across communities and government. At the same time, we are reducing harm to communities through our regulatory practices.

  • Supported people and communities following Christchurch attacks

  • Received 21% more complete applications for registration under the Charities Act 2005

  • Returned $346.4m to the community from Class 4 gambling proceeds in 2018

We have made a difference

Short to medium term results

As with our focus to Transform Service Delivery, we continue to demonstrate positive change in the year-on-year trends of our goals to connect, inform and resource communities; reduce community harm; and encourage strong and transparent community governance and institutions – so New Zealanders have greater opportunity to participate in community life.

Connected, informed and resourced communities

Through language interpretation services we have continued to support people in ways which allow them to be better connected in their communities.

See table: Connected, informed and resourced communities. [PDF 59kb]

Reducing community harm

Overall, trends indicate that we are reducing the impact of harm in communities.

We know that the Department’s risk-based approach in the gambling sector is helping to reduce problem gambling and dishonest behaviour. We have seen an overall decrease in venues failing inspection and expect this to continue to reduce over time as enforcement actions take further effect.

Our online environment continues to be safe and secure as a result of our filtering of New Zealand internet service providers to prevent access to child exploitation material.

See table: Reducing community harm. [PDF 63kb]

Strong and transparent community governance and institutions

We continue to support strong and transparent community governance and institutions through the quality of our advice and support to decision makers.

See table: Strong, transparent governance. [PDF 63kb]

Progress on longer term results

Our strategic direction is transitioning. Our refreshed focus is increasingly to partner with communities, to build long-term relationships with them and to support them in achieving locally identified aspirations, initiatives and goals.

Case Study

Responding to the Christchurch Mosques terror attacks

Over the days and weeks following 15 March 2019, the Department mobilised resources to provide on-the-ground support to affected communities by immediately connecting with Muslim leaders, representatives of affected families, Ngāi Tahu and wider ethnic community leaders. We connected communities and individuals with each other and to relevant government services including the New Zealand Police, the Canterbury District Health Board and Christchurch City Council.

We also ensured Language Line, the telephone interpretation service, managed increased demand in the weeks following the attacks. We redeployed resources to work with NetSafe, the Chief Censor and CERT NZ to ensure the attacker’s footage and manifesto were removed from the mainstream social media platform and otherwise blocked from other internet sites, and advised the public not to share the video as it was objectionable material. We assisted in coordinating government’s response efforts, organised logistics and programmes for visiting dignitaries, advised organisations on dispersing donations for the victims of the attack, and led the work on the National Remembrance Service, with assistance from multiple agencies.

We also provided advice to Government and established the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Mosque Attacks.

Case Study

Wellbeing and Water

The Three Waters Review programme was established to improve the health of our nation and our environment through providing safe, acceptable and affordable drinking water for all communities, and to achieve better environmental performance of our wastewater and stormwater services.

In November 2018, Cabinet asked officials to progress a new regulatory regime for water, prioritising drinking water but including proposals for our wastewater and stormwater systems. The programme led targeted engagement workshops with local government, water sector expertise and iwi/Māori throughout the country. In mid-2019, Cabinet agreed to new regulatory arrangements for drinking water. This included the establishment of a dedicated drinking water regulator and the drafting of a new Water Services Bill. It also advanced proposals for targeted reform of wastewater and stormwater regulation.

These achievements mean our communities will be able to have confidence in the safety of their drinking water, and that the health of our lakes, rivers and marine environments will benefit from improved environmental performance of our wastewater and stormwater systems.

Case Study

New Plymouth District Council (Waitara Lands) Act

The Department supported this local government initiative which represents a ‘once in a generation’ opportunity to resolve longstanding issues at Waitara resulting from nineteenth century land confiscation.

The Department’s typical role in a local Bill is to support the Select Committee consideration of the Bill. In this case, we played a key role in helping to resolve complex issues of law and drafting. The Act gives effect to the agreement between New Plymouth District Council, Taranaki Regional Council and the Waitara hapū, Manukorihi and Otaraua. The Department supported the Bill throughout the different legislative stages and arranged for members of the Waitara hapū to be welcomed at Parliament for the final House stages of the Bill on 12 December 2018.

The Act unlocks the Waitara Endowment Land funds (funding which had restricted statutory uses) to enable the proceeds to be used to address ongoing issues caused by the confiscation of Waitara lands. The whenua (land) was originally confiscated in 1865 by the Crown from Te Ātiawa and the Manukorihi and Otaraua hapū.

This was a particularly delicate and complicated piece of work because of the interplay between the local Bill and Treaty settlements, as well as Crown-Māori relations more broadly. The Bill raised complex procedural and legal issues which Departmental officials worked through with the assistance of other government departments. The Bill received Royal Assent in December 2018.

The Act unlocks the Waitara Endowment Land funds to enable the funds to be used for the following purposes:

  • Environmental improvements to the Waitara River (worth up to $34 million)
  • A Waitara Community Fund for general community benefit
  • A Hapū Land Fund to enable the Waitara hapū to manage and develop land in Waitara.

The Act also provides certainty to Waitara leaseholders. It allows for 770 Waitara leasehold properties, which are currently valued at $90 million, to be freehold at market value. The bill includes $50,000 of financial advice to help leaseholders through the freehold process.

About 120 hectares of land are made available to the Manukorihi and Otaraua hapū in various ways, mostly as reserve land. The Bill will contribute to stronger relationships locally between local government and Māori. The Act indirectly contributes wider benefits for relationships between the Crown, local government and Māori in the region and across New Zealand.

Trusted information

We look after information that is important to New Zealanders so they know it is safe and they can access it when they need to. We are increasingly asking people to trust us with information in an online environment.

We are building on the trust people already have in our services, whether they’re renewing a passport, searching for a book at the National Library or looking for one of the 4 million public records held by Archives New Zealand. We want people to trust us and feel confident connecting with government in a digital world.

  • Opened He Tohu Tāmaki in Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland

  • Made an additional $1.7m heritage items available to New Zealanders

  • 70% of our birth, death and marriage products were accessed online

We have made a difference

Short to medium term results

As with our focus to Transform Service Delivery and support Stronger More Resilient Communities, we have demonstrated mostly positive change in year-on-year trends in our immediate goals of: stewardship of New Zealanders’ and government information; and access to heritage information, so that information can be used to support social, cultural and economic growth in communities. In the last year, we have improved on our longer-term goal for people to have greater access to collections information and public records. These results are discussed further below.

Stewardship of New Zealanders’ and government information

Overall, results indicate that the public has trust and confidence in our stewardship of New Zealanders’ and government information. The integrity of a New Zealand passport is ranked 9th equal against comparable jurisdictions. Since the 2010/11 year, there have been substantial reductions in the number of reports of passports being issued on fraudulent grounds, or fraudulent use of a passport. Over the same period, the number of complaints to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner around privacy breaches of personal information has decreased; whilst the use and re-use of information continued to increase.

We have demonstrated mostly positive change in year-on-year trends in our immediate goals of: stewardship of New Zealanders’ and government information; and access to heritage information, so that information can be used to support social, cultural and economic growth in communities. In the last year, we have improved our longer-term goal for people to have greater access to collections information and public records through work by the National Library and Archives New Zealand.

The Chief Archivist’s Annual Report on the State of Government Recordkeeping was presented to the House of Representatives on 9 May 2019. The report focused on Archives’ increased level of advocacy and engagement with contemporary information management issues, signalling the forthcoming monitoring framework, while noting that there is still significant room for improvement across the system.

Archives Website
See table: Trust and confidence in DIA stewardship. [PDF 76kb]

Access to heritage information

Since 2013/14, access to heritage information has continued to increase across the board – many increases are significant, for example the published content provided by full-text platforms in the National Library increased to 583,974 in 2018/19.

See table: Access to heritage information. [PDF 72kb]

Progress on longer term results

We have increased the level of collections and public records available for public use. Performance information is provided below:*

Performance chart 2012 to 2017. 2012/13: 3.9, 2013/14: 4.4, 2014/15: 4.9, 2015/16: 5.5, 2016/17: 6.1, 2017/18: 6.6, 2018/19: 7.2

Measure: Level of collections information and the public records available for public use (in millions) (Source: Department of Internal Affairs)

*This is an interim measure and represents a summation of Access to heritage information supporting outcome measures for Increasing access to collections of information and the public record.

Case Study

He Tohu Tāmaki

He Tohu Tāmaki is a pilot learning experience for teachers and students in the Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland region. It is based on the award-winning exhibition of our iconic constitutional documents; Te Tiriti o Waitangi, He Whakaputanga, and the Women’s Suffrage Petition.

He Tohu Tāmaki uses learning and virtual reality resources to bring to life the history and meaning of these documents, the events they symbolise, the signatories associated with Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, and how the documents influence current and future events in Aotearoa New Zealand. Resources include kōrero and video of the map table from the Wellington based He Tohu exhibition. It provides the next best thing to experiencing the magic of visiting the real documents. A mobile app of the VR will also be available soon.

He Tohu Tāmaki makes learning about our taonga more accessible and more engaging to New Zealanders, here and around the world. Collaboration with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei on He Tohu Tāmaki is another example of a Crown-Iwi partnership.

Case Study

1.7 million heritage items made available to New Zealanders

It is critical that we make the information we hold accessible for all New Zealanders. In the past 12 months the National Library and Archives New Zealand have worked together with commercial and non-profit organisations to tackle the challenge of the long-term preservation of, and access to, digital information of national significance.

Over 1.7 million heritage items have been made available to New Zealanders in the past year. This significantly exceeded expectations and was made possible because National Library and Archives New Zealand work together with commercial and non-profit organisations on some digitisation projects which means the costs are shared, our outputs are increased, the collections are able to be integrated with other like collections from around the world, and more items are made available online.

Content we have digitised includes:

  • Audio Visual material. Magnetic media is at high risk because it’s fast becoming obsolete and is fragile.
  • Te Reo Māori material such as the Rātana Petition
  • Colonial correspondence
  • War Diaries
  • Crown Purchase Deeds
  • Railways negatives (photographs)
  • Materials documenting Pacific peoples
  • Historic newspapers up to 1950 for Papers Past
  • Periodicals.

Digitising is an involved process that includes; conservation work, making sure the documents and materials we have are authentic, and building on the information we already have so that the user can access even better knowledge.


Case Study

ATL100 – Celebrating 100 years of the Alexander Turnbull Library

2019 marks the 100th anniversary of the death of Alexander Turnbull (ATL100 ) and the gift of his library, a comprehensive collection about New Zealand and the Pacific, which he bequeathed to the nation. It gives an insight into Alexander Turnbull, the man and his legacy as a donor; inspires new audiences to use the collections to create new works; and encourages more donors to continue building his legacy.

ATL100 was launched by Minister Tracey Martin in mid-2018 with the Founder Lecture, Books and their Readers by Dr Lydia Wevers. The 30-month programme of work includes major acquisitions, exhibitions and events such as Into Native Seas: Europeans encounter an indigenous ocean by Dr Damon Salesa, the 2019 Founder Lecture. Planning is underway for more exhibitions to open in late 2019 and 2020.

The donation of the master tape archive of New Zealand music label Flying Nun Records in July 2018 was a major ATL100 acquisition. This iconic label captures a renaissance of New Zealand music in the seventies and eighties. An ongoing project to digitise the almost 1,200 items ensures this collection, noted by Minister Tracey Martin as a huge part of our culture, will be enjoyed by future generations. The Peter McLeavey Archive was another significant ATL100 acquisition and charts the development of the contemporary art scene in New Zealand. It provides a fascinating insight into the charismatic art dealer’s day-to-day running of his gallery.

The Smart Alex creative writing competition encourages rangatahi to connect to their cultural heritage through the Alexander Turnbull collections. Sponsored by the Friends of the Turnbull Library, this ATL 100 initiative offers prizes for secondary school students in New Zealand and the South Pacific.