DIA’s response to COVID-19 and information on services

Updated: 27 March 2020

COVID-19 is an illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a type of coronavirus.

For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 or to access information in Te Reo Māori, New Zealand Sign Language or a Pacific or other language, please visit the Government’s dedicated website: www.covid19.govt.nz

Advice to the public

The health and safety of our people and the public is our priority. All our employees are now working from home except for those who must be in-office to provide essential services, such as processing passports or birth certificates.

As such, all our services have altered their operations.

The National Library and Archives NZ have temporarily closed to the public.

All our public counters are also closed, including passport services, birth, death and marriage certificates, and access to family records. If you require any of these services, you must use our online services.

You can find a full list of online services below.

Information for charities

Charities Services is open. New charities can apply for registration, existing charities can complete their annual return (if they are able – extensions are available), and we are available to answer questions.

Contact: info@charities.govt.nz

Information for community groups 

Our Community Operations team is also still available, although our regional offices are closed.

Contact: community.matters@dia.govt.nz or 0800 824 824

Information for businesses when messaging customers about COVID-19

We appreciate that many businesses want to get in touch with customers about COVID-19. Here’s how to do it without breaching the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007.

Before issuing a notification to customers, consider the following:

  • There are already many communications being issued regarding COVID-19 so consider whether it is necessary to send a message in the first instance.
  • Consider whether your message could be added to the front page of your website instead - customers may naturally go to your website if they are concerned about your business and your position on COVID-19.
  • If you do need to send messages to your customers, please clearly identify yourself within your message, particularly if it’s a text message.
  • Provide clear and accurate contact information within your message in case the recipient needs to get in touch with you.
  • Do not send messages to people who are no longer members or customers of your business, or to people who have previously unsubscribed from your messages.

While the majority of these messages are likely to be non-commercial, some companies may take advantage of COVID-19 to promote their goods or services. Businesses issuing these messages need to abide by the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007: the business must have consent, clearly identify themselves and have a clear and functioning unsubscribe facility. You’ll find more information about how a business can avoid spamming customers here: https://www.dia.govt.nz/Spam-Information-for-Businesses

Information in other languages

The Office of Ethnic Communities has prepared videos for our ethnic communities. Please share this information with your communities and those you know who speak one of the languages below. Written information in languages other than English is available on the COVID-19 website.

Arabic: https://youtu.be/h3MaPhMPCv4

Cantonese: https://youtu.be/Tzm28693BMc

French: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iP_lrPrQxHY

Hindi: https://youtu.be/Hhawq6d_9eE

Mandarin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRHzLjxZg-Q

Persian/Farsi: https://youtu.be/p1tj1YsoPxA

Spanish: https://youtu.be/rstladYBEdc

Urdu: https://youtu.be/ZaW-3kmRVt4

Written information in Te Reo Māori and Pacific languages is available on the COVID-19 website.

Scam warning

Scammers are using COVID-19 to steal information and gain access to individuals’ devices. These scams take the form of emails and text messages pretending to be from known organisations. An example of a current scam email claims to be from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and includes a file for ‘Immunity tips’ against COVID-19. Once the file is opened it releases malware, sending personal information to the scammer.

Most emails from legitimate organisations will not include attachments. If you receive an unexpected email from a business or organisation with attachments, do not open them.

Do not click hyperlinks in suspicious emails or text messages. In many cases they look legitimate, however the hyperlinks usually direct you to a scam website. Before clicking links in an email, hover your mouse over the hyperlinked text and if it is directing you to a web address that looks incorrect then it is likely to be a scam.

If you get a suspicious text message, delete the contact from your phone and contact the company directly to confirm if it was a scam.

Where to find more information about spam and online scams:

Accessing services online

Passports

Almost all New Zealanders can apply for their passport online. No paper, no postage or visits to our office. Learn more at www.passports.govt.nz.

Births, Deaths and Marriages

Almost all birth, death or marriage certificates can be ordered online. To learn more or order a certificate, visit www.govt.nz/organisations/births-deaths-and-marriages/.

Birth registration is done online at www.smartstart.services.govt.nz

Accessing family records

Accessing family records online is easier than ever. You can search and view historical records and order historical certificates online at www.bdmhistoricalrecords.dia.govt.nz

Citizenship

Adults can now apply for citizenship online. You can learn more or start your application at www.govt.nz/how-to-apply-for-nz-citizenship/.

Change your own name

You can download the name change application online and submit it by post. For more information on the name change process visit www.govt.nz/changing-your-own-name.

SmartStart

SmartStart provides step-by-step information and support to help you access the right services for you and your baby. Learn more at www.smartstart.services.govt.nz.  

RealMe

RealMe services allow New Zealanders to verify their identity online. It can be used to renew your passport, apply for a visa from Immigration NZ, log in to your Inland Revenue account and more. Learn more at www.realme.govt.nz.

Whetūrangitia

Whetūrangitia provides information for family and whanau experiencing the death of a baby or child. You can access this support at www.wheturangitia.services.govt.nz.  

Te Hokinga ā Wairua End of Life Service

Te Hokinga ā Wairua End of Life Service provides you to with the information you need following the death of a loved one, and allows you to create a personalised plan of what you want to happen when you die. Access Te Hokinga ā Wairua End of Life Service at www.endoflife.services.govt.nz/welcome.

We will continue to update this page and our social media accounts as the situation evolves.

Services for people, communities and businesses