The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Resource material › Corporate Publications › Section 2

About Us

Back to Contents

Our Business, Our Organisation
Legislation We Administer

Our Business, Our Organisation

The Department of Internal Affairs – Te Tari Taiwhenua – is the oldest government department and traces its history back to the structures put in place immediately after the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

The Department is a diverse organisation with around 1,100 staff providing a range of services supporting government, communities and citizenship. We are committed to providing high-quality policy advice and services in support of the Government’s key goals for the public sector, including strengthening national identity and upholding the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi, growing an inclusive, innovative economy for the benefit of all, restoring trust in government, providing strong social services, and protecting and enhancing the environment.

The Department works towards three outcomes:

  • strong, sustainable communities/hapü/iwi
  • safer communities
  • New Zealand and international communities trust the integrity of New Zealand’s records of identity.

We also have a key Departmental objective:
  • Executive Government is well supported.

There are interdependencies across the Department and, to maximise our outcome contribution and overall performance, we must work together as one organisation.

The Department provides policy advice to its Ministers in the areas of local government, community and voluntary sector issues, ethnic affairs, civil defence and emergency management, gambling, racing, fire, citizenship, identity and censorship. It also advises a number of other Ministers and Associate Ministers as the need arises. We administer around 80 Acts and sets of Regulations. The Department monitors the performance of a range of Crown entities and has developed and implemented a Crown entity governance framework.

The Identity Services Group is the primary source of information on personal identity and key life events. It registers birth, death, civil union and marriage details, issues passports and manages citizenship applications.

The Executive Government Support Group provides Ministers with a range of services that assist in the smooth operation of New Zealand’s executive government, facilitates visits by guests of government, provides a translation service that is available to Ministers and the general public, publishes the New Zealand Gazette and administers commissions of inquiry as and when required.

The Local Government and Community Branch promotes the building of strong communities by providing advisory services, information, Lottery Grants, Community Organisation Grants Schemes (COGS) and other grants, which develop community capacity to address local issues. It supports the local government system through administration of aspects of the statutory framework and provision of information; provides policy advice on local government, community and voluntary sector issues; and administers CommunityNet Aotearoa, which aims to improve on-line access to government by community groups and citizens.

The Regulation and Compliance Branch ensures that gaming is fair, honest and lawful, and upholds community standards of censorship. It licenses gaming activities, inspects and monitors gambling, and regulates the possession and supply of objectionable material and the public display of publications through its Censorship Compliance Unit. The Branch is responsible for policy advice on gambling, racing, identity, fire and censorship issues. From 1 July 2005, responsibility for the Weathertight Homes Resolution Service transferred from the Department of Internal Affairs to the Department of Building and Housing.

The Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management (MCDEM) provides policy advice to the Government on emergency management and civil defence. It provides leadership through the development of an integrated risk-based approach to Civil Defence and Emergency Management (CDEM) in New Zealand, including CDEM groups at local authority level.

The Office of Ethnic Affairs gives ethnic people a point of contact with the New Zealand Government, and advice and information on matters affecting their communities.

The Department of Internal Affairs provides a range of corporate services and support to the business groups, enabling them to excel in their areas of expertise. These are delivered from two business groups: the Office of the Chief Executive, which includes strategic development and planning, risk and audit, legal services and effectiveness for Maori; and the Business Services Branch, which includes finance, strategic human resources, strategic communications, information and technology, facilities management and research and evaluation.

We deliver services from 17 locations throughout New Zealand, plus small offices in Sydney and London. Operationally, we are committed to providing high-quality, cost-effective services to citizens, including innovative means of improving access through electronic government while maintaining face to face services.

Our people come from a diverse range of backgrounds and cultures, identifying themselves as belonging to over 60 different cultural backgrounds. Our aim is to have a workforce that is “in touch” with the diversity within New Zealand and accordingly is able to provide a high standard of service and policy advice to our equally diverse clients and stakeholders.
In 2004/05 the Department had revenues of $150 million from Crown and external sources. Half of those revenues came from third party sources, for example the fees charged to the public for identity services products such as passports.


During 2004/05 the Department was responsible to five Ministers administering six Votes. The Minister of Internal Affairs was the Responsible Minister for the Department. The Department monitored the performance of two Crown entities under the Internal Affairs portfolio.

Hon George HawkinsVotes: Internal Affairs; Emergency Management
PortfoliosMinister of Internal Affairs2
Minister of Civil Defence
Minister Responsible for the Department of Internal Affairs

Crown entitiesNew Zealand Fire Service Commission
Office of Film and Literature Classification

Rt Hon Helen ClarkVote: Ministerial Services
PortfolioMinister Responsible for Ministerial Services

Hon Chris CarterVote: Local Government
PortfoliosMinister of Local Government
Minister for Ethnic Affairs3

Hon Rick BarkerVote: Community and Voluntary Sector
PortfolioMinister for the Community and Voluntary Sector

Hon Damien O’ConnorVote: Racing
PortfolioMinister for Racing

2From 1 July 2005, responsibility for the Weathertight Homes Resolution Service transferred from the Minister of Internal Affairs to the Minister for Building Issues.
3 Funded through Vote Internal Affairs

The Department also worked with various portfolio-related statutory bodies, trusts and committees, providing them with administrative support and managing the appointments process. We also managed the appointments process for the 12 Community Trusts (Responsible Minister: Minister of Finance), the Peace and Disarmament Education Trust and the Pacific Development and Conservation Trust (Responsible Minister: Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control).

Legislation We Administer

Births, Deaths, and Marriages Registration Act 1995
Births, Deaths, and Marriages Registration (Fees) Regulations 1995
Births, Deaths, and Marriages Registration (Prescribed Information and Forms) Regulations 1995
Boxing and Wrestling Act 1981
Bylaws Act 1910
Chatham Islands Council Act 1995
Citizenship Act 1977
Citizenship Regulations 2002
Citizenship (Western Samoa) Act 1982
Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002
Civil Defence Emergency Management Regulations 2003
Civil Union (Prescribed Information, Fees and Forms) Regulations 2005
Commercial Use of Royal Photographs Rules 1962
Commissions of Inquiry Act 1908
Commonwealth Games Symbol Protection Act 1974
Community Trusts Act 1999
Counties Insurance Empowering Act 1941
Dog Control Act 1996
Dog Control (Prescribed Forms) Regulations 1996
Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987
Films, Videos, and Publications Classification (Fees) Regulations 1994
Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Regulations 1994
Fire Safety and Evacuation of Buildings Regulations 1992
Fire Service Act 1975
Fire Service Regulations 2003
Forest and Rural Fires Act 1977
Forest and Rural Fires Regulations 1979
Gambling Act 2003
Gambling (Class 4 Net Proceeds) Regulations 2004
Gambling (Fees and Revocations) Regulations 2004
Gambling (Forms) Regulations 2004
Gambling (Harm Prevention and Minimisation) Regulations 2004
Gambling (Infringement Notices) Regulations 2004
Gambling (Problem Gambling Levy) Regulations 2004
Gaming and Lotteries (Licensed Promoters) Regulations 1978
Gaming and Lotteries Prizes Notice 1993
Impounding Act 1955
Lake Taupo (Crown Facilities, Permits and Fees) Regulations 2004
Land Drainage Act 1908
Libraries and Mechanics Institutes Act 1908
Litter Act 1979
Local Authorities (Members’ Interests) Act 1968
Local Authority Reorganisation (Property Transfers) Act 1990
Local Electoral Act 2001
Local Electoral Regulations 2001
Local Government Act 1974
Local Government Act 2002
Local Government (Museum of Transport and Technology Board) Exemption Order 2005
Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987
Local Government (Otago Museum Trust Board) Exemption Order 2005
Local Government (Rating) Act 2002
Local Legislation Acts 1926-1992
Marriage (Fees) Regulations 1995
Marriage (Forms) Regulations 1995
Municipal Insurance Act 1960
New Zealand Daylight Time Order 1990
New Zealand Fire Brigades Long Service and Good Conduct Medal (1976) (Royal Warrant)
Official Appointments and Documents Act 1919
Passports Act 1992
Passport (Fees) Regulations 1996
Public Authorities (Party Wall) Empowering Act 1919
Public Bodies Contracts Act 1959
Public Bodies Leases Act 1969
Queen’s Fire Service Medal Regulations 1955
Racing Act 2003
Racing (Harm Prevention and Minimisation) Regulations 2004
Rangitaiki Land Drainage Act 1956
Rates Rebate Act 1973
Rating (Fees) Regulations 1997
River Boards Act 1908
Royal Titles Act 1974
Royal Warrant (1955) (Queen’s Fire Service Medal)
Rural Fire Districts Regulations 1980
Rural Fire Fighting Fund Regulations 1992
Seal of New Zealand Act 1977
Seal of New Zealand Proclamation 1977
Time Act 1974
Trustee Banks Restructuring Act Repeal Act 1999
Waimakariri-Ashley Water Supply Act 1961
Weathertight Homes Resolution Services Act 20024
Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Act 1965
4 From 1 July 2005, responsibility for administering the Weathertight Homes Resolution Services Act 2002 transferred from the Department of Internal Affairs to the Department of Building and Housing.

Next: Section 3