Identity Check

What is Identity Check?

Identity Check is a safe and secure online identity verification service, developed by Te Tari Taiwhenua Department of Internal Affairs to make it easier for New Zealanders to securely access the services they need and to protect them from fraud and identity theft.

Identity Check enables New Zealanders to prove who they are online by confirming the identity information they provide against their official records.

Te Tari Taiwhenua plans to pilot this service with a number of partner organisations over the next year. Our first pilot partner is Hospitality New Zealand. Applicants will use Identity Check to confirm their identity when applying online for Hospitality New Zealand’s Kiwi Access Card. The pilot started in late September 2022.

Why was it developed?

People’s ability to access services affects their lives and wellbeing. Making it easier for people to verify their identity and reducing or eliminating digital barriers enhances people’s ability to participate in society.

Kiwis rightly expect to be able to access services easily and securely. They also want to know that their information is safe and used appropriately.

For several years, Te Tari Taiwhenua has used biometric technology to help make it easier for New Zealanders to safely apply for passports, citizenship, and RealMe verified identity. This technology has also proven to be an effective tool against forgery, fraud and identity theft.

The Department spent some years developing a model that would allow us to make this technology available as a service to other organisations, while ensuring we are keeping New Zealanders’ data safe and not sharing it with third parties.

The result of this work is the Identity Check service.

How does it work?

When applying for a service where people need to prove their identity, applicants would usually have to physically visit an outlet, or provide a copy of identity documents like a passport, driver licence and birth certificate. Identity Check makes things easier by enabling people to prove their identity online.

Te Tari Taiwhenua will partner with organisations who need their customers to be able to prove their identity when accessing services. The process works as follows:

1. When people access a service, they will go online and log-in or apply as normal.

2. At a point in the process, they will be redirected to the Identity Check secure page where they will enter key details and use their
    phone or computer camera to do a facial recognition  check and a live image check.

3. The information and images will then be compared against the applicant’s information in the New Zealand Passport or New Zealand
    Driver Licence database.

4. If the identity check is successful, the partner organisation will receive a notification stating that the applicant’s identity has been
    verified.

This uses the same technology Te Tari Taiwhenua already uses to support New Zealanders when they apply for a passport, citizenship or a RealMe verified identity. This technology is proven, secure and designed to keep New Zealanders’ information safe, and complies with all data protection requirements.

How will the pilot work with Hospitality New Zealand?

Hospitality New Zealand will use Identity Check to verify people’s details when they apply for a Kiwi Access Card service, previously known as the 18+ Card. The Kiwi Access card is an approved evidence of age document under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act.

The application process for a Kiwi Access card currently involves printing a form and dropping it at an authorised location. With the help of Identity Check, Hospitality New Zealand will be able to create an online application process, making it easier for Kiwis to access the service.

How does it ensure people’s privacy?

Partner organisations do not have access to the New Zealand Passport or Driver Licence databases. All they receive is a confirmation that the information someone provides, matches the information held in those databases.

We don’t allow anyone access to the databases that compare the images with passport or driver licence photos and we don’t provide those photos to anyone. The system compares the image you provided automatically with the images held in the relevant database.

In addition, when someone uses the service, we only retain the transaction data for a limited time.

Finally, using this process means people don’t need to carry around copies of their important identity documents. These documents can get lost or sit on physical files which opens people’s information to theft and misuse.

What happens after the pilot?

The pilot began with Hospitality New Zealand in late September 2022 and will run for 12 months. During the pilot, Te Tari Taiwhenua will review the service with Hospitality New Zealand and other partners, conduct user surveys and will work with Māori and other stakeholders. These reviews and consultations will assist and inform the development and further uses of the service.

Go to Identity Policy