The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


NZ tip uncovers international child porn ring


Department of Internal Affairs censorship inspectors sparked the investigation which has netted a highly sophisticated international child pornography network spanning Australia, England, America, Canada and Germany. Twenty-two network members have been arrested and authorities have so far identified and rescued more than 40 children being exploited.

The operation began in New Zealand in the latter part of 2005 when Internal Affairs’ censorship compliance unit accessed an internet group distributing large amounts of child sex abuse images.

Internal Affairs Deputy Secretary Keith Manch said one of the major offenders was operating from within Australia.

“We passed the information on to Queensland Police’s Taskforce Argos, an agency dedicated to combating child sex abuse,” he said. “It was the huge amount of work done by the Australians which cracked the ring and we understand authorities in the several countries involved have captured all the major players.

“No New Zealanders were involved in the core group although we were aware that one tried to join while overseas.”

Keith Manch said New Zealand has a long history of co-operating with international agencies in tracking child sex abuse offenders.

“This group thought they were so sophisticated that they were untouchable,” he said. “They used encryption and hid behind innocent sounding subject names such as gardening and cars to trade their material. Our suspicions were raised by the volume of material being traded.

“It again shows that if you deal in this material you can expect to get caught because we have dedicated inspectors who have the expertise to catch you.”

Media Contact:

Keith Manch, Deputy Secretary, Department of Internal Affairs
Ph 04 495 9329; cell 021 227 6363

Trevor Henry, communications adviser, Department of Internal Affairs
Ph 04 495 7211; cell 0275 843 679