Pūrongo Ā Tau
Annual Report

Ngā Tīpako - Highlights

  • Establishing the Ministry for Ethnic Communities as a Departmental Agency.

  • Establishing the new water regulator Taumata Arowai and progressing the Three Waters reforms policy work.

  • Supporting the smooth transfer of Government following the 2020 election.

  • Reducing the impact of online harmful content on New Zealand through our countering violent extremism function.

  • Providing digital skills programmes as part of COVID-19 recovery.

  • Enabling first-time passport application to be made online.

  • Improving local governance and democracy legislation, including changes to Māori ward legislation.

  • Working to support and enable an enhanced relationship between iwi/Māori and local government.

  • Supporting ethnic communities to use digital technology and enable fuller participation in wider society.

Paul James - Secretary for Internal Affairs NZ

He kupu nā te Tumu Whakarae
Secretary for Internal Affairs’ Foreword

Ko to mātou mahi, ko to mātou aro ko Te Tari Taiwhenua,
ko ngā tangata, ko ngā hāpori katoa o Aotearoa.
Nā mātou te whiwhi ki te tūhonohono ki ngā whānau
ngā hapū me ngā hāpori kei ngā ratonga mahi a te Tari Taiwhenua.
Kia noho haumaru, kia noho māhana,
Kia mākoha, kia atawhai tātou i a tātou

Te Tari Taiwhenua serves and connects people, communities and government to build a safe, prosperous, respected nation.

Throughout the year, we have been quick to adapt when needed as New Zealand continues to respond to COVID-19. We have continued to deliver our important mahi for New Zealand throughout all alert levels, and I’m proud of the way the Department and our kaimahi have worked through the flow on effects from alert level changes and the wider impact of COVID-19 on Aotearoa. We also supported the system wide response, including helping government agencies to maintain critical digital services to deliver for New Zealanders, and working with local government as they support and respond to communities.

I’m proud to present this report and share the stories of how we’ve made a difference in the lives of New Zealanders and their communities across Aotearoa throughout the 2020/21 year, in our four outcome areas.

We play a leadership role in making it easy for New Zealanders to participate in the digital world. This year, our new online service for adults applying for their first passport without the need for a RealMe verification has been highly popular. In total, 73% of all first-time adult passport applications were done online. We are establishing a Digital Identity Trust Framework to enable a range of digital identity services to be developed that are responsive to the needs of New Zealanders.

We work with, and for, communities to make sure they’re safe and resilient, so they have the best opportunity to thrive and prosper. In response to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch masjidain we set up the Ministry for Ethnic Communities, which launched in July 2021 following an engagement process with over 600 ethnic community members.

The Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System, multi-award winning Keep it Real Online campaign, and proposed changes to the Films, Videos and Publications Classifications Act 1993, are a few of the ways we’re preventing and minimising online harm in our communities.

We have significantly progressed the Three Waters Reform programme to ensure all New Zealanders have access to safe drinking water. We established Taumata Arowai, a dedicated water services regulator, and supported the introduction and progress of the Water Services Bill which comprehensively reforms the drinking water regulatory system and creates new national oversight of wastewater and stormwater.

A collective memory is important for New Zealanders to hold a shared sense of belonging and inclusion. Utaina! A joint initiative with Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision will preserve the Crown’s audio-visual heritage collection, and Tāhuhu is delivering fit-for-purpose infrastructure to preserve, protect and give access to our recorded and documentary taonga. This year the Mīharo Wonder exhibition provided the opportunity for people to explore 100 years of collecting at the Alexander Turnbull Library.

This year, we supported two Royal Commissions, including the Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State Care and in the Care of Faith-based Institutions. The Terms of Reference for this Royal Commission were amended to strengthen a survivor-centric approach and ensure a completion date of June 2023.

We are progressing the Future for Local Government review, which considers how our system of local democracy and governance needs to evolve over the next 30 years to improve the wellbeing of communities, the environment, and actively embody the Treaty partnership. To increase Māori representation and provide a Māori voice in local decision making, legislation was passed in February 2021 to remove the binding poll provision for councils wanting to establish Māori wards for the 2022 local elections.

Throughout the following pages, you’ll read about the various ways our kaimahi have supported and connected people, communities and government to make New Zealand better for New Zealanders over the past year.

Our people are what make us a high performing organisation and a great place to work, and I’m grateful for their commitment, mahi and dedication to our spirit of service.

Ngā mihi mahana

Paul James' signature

Paul James

Te Tumu Whakarae mō te Tari Taiwhenua
Secretary for Internal Affairs

Quick Links

  • He Tohu hands at the Te Papa museum

    Outcome 1

    People can easily access the services and information they need

    People’s ability to access services and information affects their lives and wellbeing. We work across government to identify opportunities to make services and information more easily accessible to those who need them.

    Read more
  • Outcome 2

    Iwi, hapū and communities across New Zealand are safe, resilient and thriving

    Communities are important to people’s wellbeing. People have the best opportunity to thrive and prosper when the communities they live in are safe and resilient. While risk and harm cannot be eliminated completely, they can be reduced, and communities can be supported to manage risks and challenges and empowered to form and realise their own aspirations.

    Read more
  • Outcome 3

    People’s sense of belonging and collective memory builds an inclusive New Zealand

    A strong sense of belonging is important for New Zealand to be a welcoming and inclusive place for everyone. Many factors influence people’s sense of belonging and connection. When people lack a sense of belonging and feel excluded there are high social costs, for individuals, communities and society.

    Read more
  • Outcome 4

    New Zealand is a well-functioning democracy, across central and local government

    Both central and local government have big impacts on the lives of New Zealanders. The smooth running of New Zealand’s democratic institutions is important to the accountability and transparency that gives people trust and confidence in democracy. The mechanisms and support needed to make government functional contribute to people’s willingness and ability to participate in society.

    Read more
The Eggplant - Keep it Real Online


Keep it Real Online: The Eggplant

Following the success of our Keep it Real Online awareness campaign targeted at parents and caregivers, Internal Affairs is now providing 13 – 18 year olds with access to the knowledge they need to keep themselves safe online, support their peers and know where to go for help if needed.

The Eggplant was an immediate hit online. It has had over 300,000 episode streams across TVNZ OnDemand and YouTube, equating to over three million minutes of viewing. The trailer and other advertising has received over 4.5 million views from kiwi youth across TikTok, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, and feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

Secondary school teachers let us know they are using The Eggplant as a teaching tool in their classrooms, leading to better conversations with rangatahi about these issues.

To reach this tough audience we decided classic advertising was not the way to go. Instead we developed an educational tool presented as a six-part mini-series of pure New Zealand comedy, based in a high school, using the classic ‘whodunnit’ format. It features some of the country’s most well-known comedians, influencers, entertainers, and some very talented young actors.

To ensure this approach was relevant and relatable, we consulted with young people on every step of the process. This collaboration helped inform everything from the tone, sense of humour, vernacular to casting and character development, giving the confidence that we were hitting all the right notes.

The narrative structure of the mini-series allowed us to explore the core themes of bullying, nudes, pornography and grooming in depth through the eyes of students.

Given The Eggplant’s success, during the latest COVID-19 lockdown we launched a bonus 30 minute episode on the issue of mis-information. Within a few weeks this episode had over 20,000 views.