Kei te haumaru, kei te pakari, kei te ora te hunga o Aotearoa 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.

The aspirations of iwi, hapū and Māori are important for social wellbeing, and the Crown has a responsibility to support those aspirations as a partner in the Treaty of Waitangi.

Resilient infrastructure is important to communities and their long-term wellbeing. Addressing the planning for and funding of infrastructure ensures communities have the facilities that allow our regions to thrive and prosper.

Intermediate outcomes

  • Regulated activities minimise harm and maximise benefits to people and communities
  • Māori are supported to realise their aspirations
  • Communities are supported to develop and prosper.

Ngā Tīpako - Highlights

  • Mana Ōrite agreement signed between the Department of Internal Affairs/Government Chief Digital Officer and the Data Iwi Leaders Group to commit to a partnership on Digital Public Service kaupapa.
  • Final two phases of the Keep It Real Online campaign, Eggplant and the Interyeti respectively, focused on minimising online harm to tamariki and rangatahi, were released this year.
  • Supported the development and implementation of the Government’s $217 million investment in shovel-ready flood protection work.


Building authentic partnerships with mana whenua that respect their connection to people and place

Building stronger partnerships with whānau, hapū, iwi and Māori is a critical to the work of National Library and Archives New Zealand. Our approach is to be proactive in our relationships, grow our understanding of whānau, hapū and iwi aspirations and enable kaitiakitanga to the collections, taonga and mātauranga that we hold.

Relationship building has included meeting with iwi in their rohe to understand how we can support them to meet their culture and heritage aspirations. We are also hosting iwi in our institutions to undertake research and access their taonga and mātauranga.

Several iwi, hapū and whānau have begun conservation and preservation work on priority collections that are of significance to them. They are taking a sector approach to this and are seeking support from our heritage institutions to partner in training and development programmes.

Mana whenua have been integral to the development and design of the new Archives building.

We are building the foundation for a future partnership where we share control with Māori and recognise the unique rights and interests they have over the collections and knowledge we hold.

How we are driving change to deliver our outcomes

Regulated activities minimise harm and maximise benefits to people and communities

Modernising media regulation and providing greater protection against online harms – Keep it Real Online campaign.

As the online world continues to advance, so do the risks associated with it. With new apps, websites and ways of interacting online popping up every day, it’s important that tamariki and rangatahi across New Zealand are aware of, can identify, and know how to manage the risks they face when online.

Internal Affairs has led the Keep It Real Online campaign, with support from Netsafe, the Office of Film and Literature Classification, and the Ministry of Education, to help minimise online risk to young people.

The campaign aims to raise awareness of the online harms faced by children and young people, and equip them with the advice, tools and support they need to face these issues.

The successful first phase launched in 2019/20, reached over 870,000 parents and caregivers and data showed a steadily declining number of attempts to access pornography on school devices while the campaign was running.

Two further phases of the campaign have been released this year.

The Eggplant, released in December 2020, was a six-part mini-series aimed at young people aged 13 to 18 to raise awareness and provide support for dealing with online issues such as pornography, grooming, bullying and requests for nude photos. The Eggplant has had over 300,000 episode views on YouTube and TVNZ OnDemand, consisting of over 3.3 million minutes of viewing time, and over 4 million views of scenes and trailers across TikTok, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.

The third phase of the campaign is The Inter-Yeti, an online interactive storybook which was released in June 2021 and aims to equip 5 to 11-year-olds with the tools to help them understand and start to navigate online issues and harms.

A website was also developed to provide parents, caregivers and young people with information, tools and advice on online harm and the issues they might face. The parent and caregiver section of the website was translated into four languages – Te Reo, Samoan, Hindi and simplified Mandarin. The Keep it Real Online website has had over 400,000 unique visits.

Countering Violent Extremism Online - reducing harmful content online

Following the Christchurch terror attack, it was clear more needed to be done to counter and prevent violent extremism online to help keep communities across Aotearoa safe.

On 8 December 2020, the Report of the Royal Comission of inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch masjidain, Ko tō tātou kāinga tēnei, was released. It made 44 recommendations covering national security and wider social and community matters.

In response to the attacks and the report, Te Tari Taiwhenua stood up the Countering Violent Extremism Online team, and developed the Films, Videos, and Publications (Urgent Interim Classification of Publications and Prevention of Online Harm) Amendment Bill to address gaps in powers to prevent and mitigate harms caused by “objectionable” publications. The Bill had its first reading in February 2021 and has since been progressing through the Select Committee process. The Bill is anticipated to be passed by December 2021.

The Bill focuses on online publications and proposes powers such as making livestreaming of objectionable content a criminal offence, allowing for take-down notices to remove objectionable content online, and allowing the Chief Censor to make swift time-limited interim classification assessments.

Picture of a little boy drinking water


Three Waters Reform – Taumata Arowai

Safe drinking water for all people in New Zealand is essential, and high-performing drinking water, wastewater and stormwater services are vital for the protection of public health and the environment.

In August 2016, a widespread outbreak of gastroenteritis in Havelock North, later found to be linked to campylobacter in the public water supply, made 5,000 people ill, and was linked to four deaths.

To ensure this does not happen again, Internal Affairs has supported the three pou, pillars, of the Government’s three waters review – establishment of Taumata Arowai, regulatory reform and service delivery reform.

Taumata Arowai became a new Crown entity in March 2021 and will take over from the Ministry of Health as the new water services regulator for Aotearoa when the Water Services Bill passes, expected in the second half of 2021.

Taumata Arowai serves as a reflection point between wai and tangata – water and people. It will be committed to ensuring all communities have access to safe drinking water and will have an oversight role in protecting the environment from the impacts of wastewater and stormwater.

The Taumata Arowai–the Water Services Regulator Act 2020 requires Taumata Arowai to give effect to Te Mana o te Wai. Te Mana o te Wai protects the mauri of the wai and is about restoring and preserving the balance between the wai, the wider environment and the community. This is the first piece of legislation to do this.

The Water Services Bill will strengthen the drinking water regulatory framework and shine a light on the system by providing oversight of the performance of wastewater and stormwater networks.

Three Waters Reform – Infrastructure Investment and Service Delivery Programme

Over the past year, there has been significant progress with the Three Waters service delivery reforms. We have developed and obtained Cabinet agreement to a suite of Cabinet papers to transform the Three Waters service delivery system, including:

  • providing a comprehensive package of policy advice, evidence, and analysis to inform discussions with Ministers about complex policy topics;
  • working with the local government sector to address a historic information deficit and using the data collected to contribute to robust policy advice to inform decision making and the case for change;
  • working with and advising the Joint Central/Local Government Three Waters Steering Committee; and
  • supporting the Minister of Local Government and Minister of Finance to develop and confirm $761m post COVID-19 stimulus funding and a $2.5 billion financial support package, working closely with Local Government New Zealand.

To inform our policy advice, we have held extensive engagement with local government, iwi/Māori, and industry professionals throughout the reform programme.

Keeping our community safe at Lake Taupō – Lake Taupō navigational safety

The Lake Taupō Harbourmaster is a reassuring navigational safety presence on Taupō Moana that aims to keep people safe on the water.

The Harbourmaster enforces safe boating rules, issues permits, and provides information on the use of Taupō Moana. The team also maintains facilities, so they are accessible to the public.

This role relies on partnership with iwi, and relationships with councils, power companies, and emergency and rescue agencies.

In 2020/21, Internal Affairs contributed to safety on the lake by progressing removal of the unsafe Tokaanu Marina and worked alongside emergency services to help people who experienced difficulty on Taupō Moana.

This mahi enables our communities to safely utilise the benefits and joys of Taupō Moana, and ensures iwi, hapū and communities around Lake Taupō are safe, resilient and thriving.

Māori are supported to realise their aspirations

Data iwi leaders’ agreement signed

Internal Affairs signed a Mana Ōrite agreement with the Data Iwi leaders’ group, establishing a mana to mana relationship with Internal Affairs between Internal Affairs/Government Chief Digital Officer and the Data Iwi Leaders Group (DILG), (a group authorised by the National Iwi Chairs Forum to speak on its behalf regarding Digital and Data).

The agreement establishes a relationship through which Internal Affairs and DILG can find new ways to engage and work together on digital public services, so they are more responsive, accessible and enable better outcomes for Māori.

This agreement was 15 months in the making and was signed on 22 June 2021 at a ceremony held in front of Te Tiriti o Waitangi at the He Tohu exhibit in the National Library.

Iwi advice on approaches to affiliation - Iwi affiliation hui held with several Iwi to learn how they think identity information should be recorded

In May 2021, Te Ara Manaaki began a series of hui asking iwi how they manage decisions about affiliation, which will continue throughout 2021/22. Iwi and hapū affiliations have not been systematically recorded in the birth, death and marriage registers since 1962, when the Māori register was discontinued, and Māori were included in the general registers.

Modernisation of the birth, death and marriage systems provides an opportunity to capture this information more accurately, and work is underway to test iwi interest in developing this further.

Individuals can record the iwi of their pēpi on existing birth certificate forms, but information is not systematically recorded, and the forms may not provide enough space if there is affiliation to several iwi.

Advice received from iwi so far has been varied. Some iwi face high demand from people wanting to register as members and follow detailed procedures for validating those claims. Others rely on validation at marae/hapū level by whakapapa experts. There’s also variation as to whether membership is restricted to blood affiliation or whether whāngai (adoption) is accepted.

Internal Affairs will invite iwi to participate in a working group to determine what, if any, affiliation should be included in Crown records, and how that information could most helpfully be shared with iwi.

Ngāi Tahu Archive and Archives New Zealand partnership

For over a decade Ngāi Tahu and Archives New Zealand have built a collaborative partnership in Ōtautahi, Christchurch to preserve, protect and make accessible taonga of significance to Ngāi Tahu.

From November 2020, the Ngāi Tahu Archives Team has been co-located with Archives in their new building in Wigram, Christchurch. This provides an opportunity to deepen the partnership and share knowledge in new ways. This is an example of an active, mutually beneficial Māori-Crown partnership, based on working towards shared goals, in that:

  • Archives aims to support iwi and Māori to preserve archival taonga for the heritage and identity of their people, and to make Archives holdings more accessible for Māori, and
  • Ngāi Tahu Archives wished to collaborate with Archives to advance their archival programme while retaining rangatiratanga of their taonga.

A common goal is to share mātauranga Ngāi Tahu in a culturally appropriate manner and make this knowledge available to all New Zealanders.

Communities are supported to develop and prosper

Community resilience and natural hazards

Communities throughout New Zealand are exposed to a range of natural hazard risks which are being exacerbated by the effects of climate change.

Local Government, as the manager of many of the country’s natural hazard risks, seeks support and partnership with central government to address these challenges.

Since 2018, Internal Affairs has been leading an all of government approach to community resilience in partnership with local government.

Flood risk management, as New Zealand’s most frequent natural hazard, was chosen to test policy settings and increase the resilience of our communities. Internal Affairs has supported the development and implementation of the Government’s $217 million investment in shovel ready flood protection.

In addition, Internal Affairs has worked with the Local Government New Zealand River Managers’ Special Interest Group on the case for co-investment in flood risk management and the development of regulatory settings to enable more risk informed planning practices.

During the year, the Community Resilience work programme was refocused to develop options to enable the Land Information Memorandum system to more effectively disclose information on natural hazard risk.

Internal Affairs has contributed to the development of the National Adaptation Plan as part of Government’s response to the first National Climate Risk Assessment and is bringing a community resilience perspective to the Resource Management System reforms. This includes development of the Climate Adaptation Act based on Internal Affairs experience with the managed retreats at Matatā and Kaikōura.

Internal Affairs contributes to the National Security System through its participation on the Hazard Risk Board, leading work on water security along with other agencies, including the Ministry for Primary Industries and the National Emergency Management Agency.

This mahi helps to ensure our communities have the infrastructure and processes in place to support them to be resilient.

Review of the Charities Act

Officials engaged with approximately 100 targeted stakeholders, as well as the Charities Sector Group and the review's Core Reference Group. Topics that were included for engagement were reporting requirements for small charities, accumulation of funds and business activities, the appeals and decision-making framework, regulator powers, and responsibilities of officers.

Ngā Ratonga Kaupapa Atawhai | Charities Services – improvement in timeframes for decisions on applications

Internal Affairs acts on behalf of the independent Charities Registration Board to make decisions on applications from entities that choose to register as charities. Registration as a charity brings many benefits, including income tax exemptions and potentially broader access to grant funding.

Last year Ngā Ratonga Kaupapa Atawhai | Charities Services focused on improving the timeliness of our decisions on registration applications. New risk-based processes were introduced which enabled over 1,700 applications to be decided, with the average timeframe for decisions dropping from 59 to 33 working days over the year.

This arises from decisions on straight-forward applications being made more quickly, allowing staff to focus resources on more complex, and higher-risk applications.

Refugees, Recent Migrants and Ethnic Communities Employment Action Plan

The Employment Action Plan (EAP) for refugees, new migrants and ethnic communities, is one of seven plans under the All-of-Government Employment Strategy released in August 2019 and is jointly lead with Immigration New Zealand and the Ministry of Social Development.

The plan brings together current, planned and new programmes of work to support refugees, recent migrants and ethnic communities to improve their labour market outcomes.

It has been updated to reflect the impact of COVID-19, the Ko tō tātou kāinga tēnei report from the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch masjidain on 15 March 2019, and to take into account women’s employment. Consultation on the draft EAP was paused due to COVID-19, but has now begun and will continue until the end of October 2021.

Ethnic Communities Development Fund

Internal Affairs provided direct funding to support initiatives led by ethnic communities. Ethnic communities continued to be directly supported through the Ethnic Communities Development Fund (ECDF), with $4.2 million of funding being fully disbursed to support a wide range of projects including multicultural events and initiatives relating to leadership and capability building, community sport, youth, language, and refugee and migrant services.

Information on all requests that receive funding is published on the Ministry of Ethnic Community’s website5, and clearly reflect a growing diversity of groups, ideas and regions that directly benefit from this funding.

Racism is No Joke campaign

The Office of Ethnic Communities partnered with the Human Rights Commission to launch the “Racism is No Joke” campaign in July 2020, alongside the Human Rights Commission campaign “Give Nothing to Racism”. The campaign focused on addressing online racism, raising awareness of the impact on Chinese and Asian New Zealanders, and encouraging people to stop sharing Asian ‘jokes’.

The campaign established two social media platforms (on Facebook and WeChat) for communication with, and feedback from, Asian communities entitled “New Zealand is our home too”. The now-closed Facebook page had pan-Asian membership of 115 members and the WeChat group currently has 168 participants and is focused primarily on the Chinese community.

Initially, three videos were posted with 7,500 views and 175 shares. Static posts and videos continue to be shared, with several media outlets, including Radio New Zealand, picking up the posts. “Community Voices” videos feature community members talking about their experiences of racism.

By October 2020, 35 videos and static image posts were, on average, viewed by 121,000 people a day visiting the Facebook page. This saw a total of 7,936 post reactions. The focus audience of white middle-class New Zealanders was reached by the campaign 1.15 million times. The closed Facebook and WeChat groups continue to enjoy strong interest.

Managing our community grant funding programme through the COVID-19 pandemic

Internal Affairs manages a significant programme of community grant funding. Last year, 10,339 grant applications were processed and considered across 30 funds. 7,248 of these applications were successful, and applicants received a total of over $201 million in grants funding, including funding administered on behalf of the Lottery Grants Board. Managing this portfolio of funds also requires Internal Affairs to support around 68 funding decision-making committees.

The $40 million Lottery COVID-19 Community Wellbeing Fund (the Fund) was developed and approved by the Lottery Grants Board to support community and social initiatives that increase the strength and resilience of communities impacted by COVID-19. One-off grants were provided to impacted hapū, iwi and community organisations and for innovative responses to meet pandemic-related needs in their communities.

Internal Affairs led the design and implementation of the Fund, which opened for applications in October 2020. The $40 million Fund was fully expended by June 2021. The fund received 1,819 applications requesting a total amount of $127,217,000. Out of these applications, 1,100 were approved.

To enable easy access to the Fund and increase its responsiveness, changes to the standard funding application process and the way funding decisions are made were introduced before the Fund opened. These changes included a simplified request form and grant approval process, close collaboration with other funders, and the removal of opening and closing dates. Insights from the streamlined process are now being integrated to the way other funds are managed.

Ethnic Communities Graduate Programme

The Ethnic Communities Graduate Programme (ECGP) provides a meaningful first employment opportunity in the public service for skilled graduates. The first intake of 23 graduates began their employment with 12 agencies on 14 July 2021.

The programme aims to directly address the low representation of ethnic communities, and increase the diversity of knowledge and experience, within the public sector.

Development of the Racing Industry

Passage and implementation of the new Racing Industry Act 2020, and support for the racing community to respond to the challenges of COVID-19, were focus areas in 2020/21.

New boards were appointed for TAB NZ and the Racing Integrity Board (RIB) and regulations developed to distribute savings from the repealed betting duty, allow for a Point of Consumption Charge, and operationalise the RIB.

Work was also completed to enable Internal Affairs to fulfil its new role as the Designated Authority for Offshore Charges under the Act.

Hon Sir Bruce Robertson was commissioned to review the greyhound industry’s response to the recommendations in Hon Rodney Hansen’s 2017 report on animal welfare. Sir Bruce found that improvements in animal welfare and transparency should be made but the point has not been reached where immediate action by the Minister must be taken. He recommended that the RIB should monitor progress and report back in 18 months. The Minister has requested that the RIB report to him by the end of 2022.

Advice was provided on the ongoing implications of COVID-19 on the racing industry, with the Government’s $72.5 million support package successful in restoring TAB NZ to a sound financial footing.


What are our indicators telling us?

BNZ released data that showed public credit card spending on donations to charities is down6, with mixed responses from funders around this over the past year. Funders reported the exhaustion that many community groups they engage with are feeling and that this has become far more visible in the latest COVID-19 lockdown.

Statistics NZ report7 that the majority of New Zealanders continued to rate their overall life satisfaction highly in the December 2020 quarter, with 86 percent giving a rating of 7 or higher (on a 0–10 scale, where 0 is completely dissatisfied and 10 is completely satisfied). Thirty-seven percent of people aged 18 years or older rated their overall life satisfaction very highly (a rating of 9 or 10), up from 33 percent in the September 2020 quarter. The average life satisfaction rating was 8.0 out of 10, up from 7.8 in the September 2020 quarter. The majority of those with little or no control over how their work is organised were still satisfied with their job (77 percent). However, for those with a lot of control over how their work is organised, the level of satisfaction was much higher at 92 percent.

The proportion of people rating their overall life satisfaction as high increased slightly compared to the 2016/17 result, with more than 8 in 10 (85%) being satisfied. Overall life satisfaction rose to 8 out of 10 in the December quarter, perhaps reflecting how accustomed New Zealanders had become to living with the COVID-19 pandemic. While there were further episodes of community transmission in February 2021, which saw the country move in and out of higher alert levels, the mean overall life satisfaction was steady in the March 2021 quarter, according to Statistics NZ8.

The proportion of people reporting that they have experienced discrimination has remained static with 17.5% having experienced discrimination in the last 12 months.

Results for some outcome indicators for 2020/21 are not available due to changes in survey timings and methodologies. For example, the New Zealand General Social Survey (NZGSS) has been delayed until 2022, so there are no results for the 2020/21 to report from this source this year, except for some specific topics that are surveyed more frequently.

NZ Police reported15 in December 2020 that theft victimisations decreased by 10.1% compared with the previous 12 months. This meant there were 15,216 less victimisations for theft. Burglary victimisations decreased by 14.6% (-10,042) compared with the previous 12 months, and assault victimisations increased by 12.4% (+6,750) compared with the previous 12 months.

While the Ministry of Justice Perceptions of Crime Survey was not run during the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown, the Ministry reported in June 202016 that during all Alert Levels the overwhelming majority of respondents (95% or more) felt safe or very safe at home. Only 2% of adults felt unsafe or very unsafe for Alert Level 4 and this proportion reduced to 0.3% for Alert Level 1. Perceptions about what is needed to feel safer were changing over time. As the alert levels reduced from Alert Level 4 through to Alert Level 1, respondents perceived that factors like pandemic control, strict following the rules, staying home and certainty about the future became less critical whereas the perceived importance of factors like home security and a safer neighbourhood steadily increased.

In May 2021, Volunteering NZ reported17 that New Zealand has been recognised in international reports as traditionally having a high volunteer rate compared with the rest of the world. Around 2.5 million people actively support organisations and other people through volunteering, social action and mahi aroha. This adds up to a voluntary contribution of 159 million hours per year to enable the not-for-profit sector to operate and contributes $4 billion to the economy.

Research also shows that communities with high levels of volunteering, subjective wellbeing will tend to be increased by the goodwill and social capital building being achieved thus reinforcing peoples’ sense of purpose.