Department of Internal Affairs (New Zealand)

Department of Internal Affairs (New Zealand)

The New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs (in Māori Te Tari Taiwhenua) is a state sector organisation whose roles include the issue of passports; administering citizenship grant applications, and lottery grant applications; enforcement of censorship and gambling law; registration of births, deaths, marriages and civil unions; providing policy advice on a range of issues; and supplying support services to Ministers of the Crown.

Other services provided by the department include a translation service, publication of the New Zealand Gazette (the official newspaper of the Government of New Zealand), a flag hire service, management of VIP visits to New Zealand, running the Lake Taupo harbourmaster's office (under a special agreement with the local iwi) and the administration of offshore islands.

The Minister of Internal Affairs is the Hon. Nathan Guy[1] and Peter Mersi is the Acting Secretary of Internal Affairs. However, in total there are seven Ministers with responsibilities administered by the Department.[2]

On 25 March 2010 the Minister of State Services announced that Archives New Zealand and the National Library of New Zealand would be merged into the Department.[3] Library and Archives stakeholders have expressed serious concerns about the changes proposed.[4][5] During the late 1990s both the Library and Archives were separated from the Department along with Ministry for Culture and Heritage.



The Department traces its roots back to the Colonial Secretary's Office, which from the time New Zealand became a British colony, in 1840, was responsible for almost all central Government duties. Many of these responsibilities were lost as new departments and ministries were formed. The office's name was changed to the Department of Internal Affairs in 1907, and it became the home for a diverse range of government functions providing services to New Zealanders and advice to Ministers of the Crown. This role continues to the present day, as new roles and functions have come into the Department and others have been transferred elsewhere.

Related organisations

The Department of Internal Affairs encompasses several organisations. These include the Office of Ethnic Affairs, which provides information to ethnic communities and policy advice to the government; the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management, which manages the national response to civil defence emergencies, provides leadership of the sector including the development of standards and guidance and leads a coordinated national public education campaign]]; and the Local Government Commission, which makes decisions on the structure and representation requirements of local government. The Department's present activities also include the implementation of recent dog control and local government legislation.

The Department also has responsibility for supporting the community and voluntary sector through the Office for the Community and Voluntary Sector.

The Knowledge, Information, Research and Technology (KIRT) Branch includes the Government Chief Information Officer (GCIO), vested in the Chief Executive of the Department of Internal Affairs which has responsibility for developing and overseeing the government's ICT (Information, Communications and Technology) strategy and providing strategic advice on related matters. The KIRT branch also includes the National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Māturanga o Aotearoa and Archives New Zealand, Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga. (These two organisations were integrated into the Department on 1 February 2011.

Another branch - Shared Services - provides secretariat support for several entities including:

  • The Gambling Commission
  • The Local Government Commission
  • Commissions of Inquiry and ad hoc bodies (as at October 2011 there are two Royal Commissions operating: The Royal Commission on the Pike River Coal Mine tragedy and the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission.)
  • The Library and Information Advisory Commission, Ngā Kaiwhakamārama i ngā Kohikohinga Kōrero
  • The Public Lending Right Advisory Group
  • The Guardians Kaitiaki of the Alexander Turnbull Library
  • The Archives Council
  • The Film and Literature Board of Review
  • Confidential Listening and Assistance Service

See also


External links

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