He tirohanga arotake ki te tau kua hipa
Our year in review

Tō Tātou Whāinga

Ko tā Te Tari Taiwhenua he whakarato me te hono i ngā iwi, ngā hapori me te kāwanatanga ki te waihanga motu haumaru, tōnui, whai mana hoki.

Our Purpose

The Department of Internal Affairs serves and connects people, communities and government to build a safe, prosperous and respected nation.

Our culture

A high performing organisation needs a thriving culture where people feel valued, connected and empowered. Our mātāpono, principles and behaviours are woven through the way we do things at Te Tari Taiwhenua. They underpin how we relate to one another and create a great workplace for he tangata.


Expresses values of togetherness, solidarity, collective action, reciprocity and respect. Strength in unity.


To manaaki is to show kindness, respect, and hospitality towards others. This principle is about maintaining and nurturing relationships and ensuring people are looked after.

We make it easy, we make it work

  • Customer centered
  • Make things even better


Kinship and relationships. This principle is nurtured through shared experiences and working together, which provides people with a sense of belonging.

We're stronger together

  • Work as a team
  • Value each other

He Tangata

People are important to what we do and the culture we create. This principle is about all people, both internal and external, being important.

We take pride in what we do

  • Make a positive difference
  • Strive for excellence

Te āhua me te momo o ā mātou mahi
Nature and scope of our functions

Tō Tātou Whāinga

Ko tā Te Tari Taiwhenua he whakarato me te hono i ngā iwi, ngā hapori me te kāwanatanga ki te hanga motu haumaru, tōnui, whai mana hoki.

Our Purpose

The Department of Internal Affairs serves and connects people, communities and government to build a safe, prosperous, respected nation.

Our purpose remains consistent, even as the functions and services we perform evolve to meet the changing needs and expectations of New Zealanders and the Government.

We work with people, communities, and government – both central and local – to make New Zealand better for New Zealanders.

Our Ministerial Portfolios

We are responsible to six Ministers, administering seven Portfolios within the single Vote Internal Affairs1. The Minister of Internal Affairs is the Vote Minister and the Responsible Minister overseeing the Government’s ownership interests in Internal Affairs. Portfolios and Responsible Ministers for 2020/21 were:

Internal Affairs Hon. Jan Tinetti
Community and Voluntary Sector Hon. Priyanca Radhakrishnan
Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities Hon. Priyanca Radhakrishnan
Digital Economy and Communications Hon. Dr David Clark
Local Government Hon. Nanaia Mahuta
Ministerial Services Rt. Hon. Jacinda Ardern
Racing Hon. Grant Robertson

Internal Affairs operates under a single Vote to support activities under the seven Portfolios.

Internal Affairs has a broad range of responsibilities and functions that span information and communication technologies (ICT) investment, information management, working with communities, ensuring effective regulatory frameworks are in place, supporting the Executive and local government and delivering a range of services to support and foster New Zealand’s cultural identity.

System leadership roles include the Government Chief Digital Officer (GCDO) and the Government Chief Privacy Officer (GCPO) to lead the digital transformation of government across the public sector. We support our public-sector colleagues to transform their services through better investment in ICT and to maintain the privacy of New Zealanders’ government-held information.

We also play a system leadership role for local government. We link central and local government more effectively to achieve improved outcomes for citizens and communities.

Internal Affairs is responsible for the National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa and Archives New Zealand Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga, which play an important role in preserving New Zealand’s documentary heritage and ensuring a full and accurate public record is created and maintained.

The Chief Archivist has a system leadership and regulatory role in administering the Public Records Act 2005, which establishes the statutory framework for information and records management across the public sector to:

  • enable the government to be held accountable by ensuring that full and accurate records of central and local government are created and maintained
  • preserve and manage, and provide access to, records of long-term value, and
  • enhance public confidence in the integrity of public and local authority records.

The National Librarian has a system leadership role in the preservation, protection, development, and accessibility of New Zealand’s documentary heritage. This involves:

  • Collecting, preserving, and protecting documents, particularly those relating to New Zealand, and making them accessible for all the people of New Zealand, in a manner consistent with their status as documentary heritage and taonga
  • Supplementing and furthering the work of other libraries in New Zealand, and
  • Working collaboratively with other institutions having similar purposes, including those forming part of the international library community.

Our wider Internal Affairs functions include:

  • Managing and protecting the integrity of national identity information, including life events such as births, deaths, marriages, citizenship and issuing passports
  • Regulating activities in several sectors including: gambling, censorship, countering violent extremism, government recordkeeping, charities, unsolicited electronic messages, anti-money laundering, private security personnel and private investigators
  • Providing policy advice to Government on local government, ethnic communities, community and voluntary sector, fire and emergency services, identity, information and communications technology, information management, digital safety, gambling and racing
  • Providing information, resources and advice to communities to support their aspirations
  • Administering grant funding schemes and promoting trust and confidence in the charitable sector
  • Supporting Ministers to ensure Executive Government operates efficiently and effectively
  • Coordinating and managing official guests of Government visits to New Zealand and arranging national commemorative events
  • Supporting public and Government inquiries and reviews, including Royal Commissions of Inquiry
  • Administering a range of statutory functions for the Minister of Local Government, including for Lake Taupō and offshore islands
  • Leadership in the direction and operational approach for digital across the core public service.

We administer 112 Acts of legislation. We monitor the performance of three Crown entities (Fire and Emergency New Zealand, the Office of Film and Literature Classification and Taumata Arowai) and manage the appointment process for members of a range of trusts, committees and boards.

1 Internal Affairs was also responsible for the Office of Ethnic Communities, which supported ethnic communities across Aotearoa and the benefits their diversity brings to New Zealand. The Office of Ethnic Communities became the Ministry for Ethnic Communities on 1 July 2021 and now operates as a Departmental Agency.

A picture of Beehive building in the night

Ngā arotau a te Kāwana
Government priorities

Tā mātou mahi tautoko i ngā arotau a te Kāwana - How we support Government’s priorities

As part of the New Zealand public service, Internal Affairs contributes to Government’s outcomes and objectives. We focus our efforts to support the Government of the day to achieve its priorities.

The previous Government’s priorities were:

An economy that is growing and working for all of us

  • Support thriving, sustainable regions
  • Govern responsibly.

Improving the wellbeing of New Zealanders and their families

  • Ensure that everyone who can is earning, learning, caring or volunteering
  • Support healthier, safer and more connected communities
  • Make New Zealand the best place in the world to be a child.

Making New Zealand proud

  • Deliver open, transformative and compassionate Government
  • Build closer partnerships with Māori
  • Value who we are as a country
  • Create an international reputation we can be proud of.

After the 2020 election, the Government’s priorities for the next three years are:

  • Continuing to keep New Zealand safe from COVID-19
  • Accelerating the recovery and rebuild from the impacts of COVID-19
  • Laying the foundations for the future, including addressing key issues such as our climate change response, housing affordability, and child poverty.

He papa whāinga
Our Outcomes Framework

In our 2019–2023 Strategic Intentions, we described our new Outcomes Framework.

We have four outcomes to achieve our common purpose. These outcomes support each other and overlap. Contributing to the achievement of the outcomes are 16 intermediate outcomes that represent more specifically the impact we will have.

During 2020 and early 2021, a new outcome was developed that outlines our commitment to Māori/Crown relationships. The outcome is ‘Oranga, hapū, iwi, and Māori is improved through an enduring, equitable and positive Māori/Crown partnership.’

Outcome 1

People can easily access the services and information they need.

Intermediate Outcomes

  • Barriers to digital inclusion are reduced
  • People’s access to government is enhanced
  • People’s identity can be easily and securely verified
  • Taonga tuku iho rights are protected

Outcome 2

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

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

Outcome 4

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

Intermediate Outcomes

  • Executive Government functions well through support, services and advice
  • Engagement between Māori and local government is strengthened
  • Government transparency is upheld
  • Local government works collectively to address national objectives

Outcome Indicators

Internal Affairs uses indicators to demonstrate the impact of the work we do to benefit New Zealand and those who live here. We identified a range of outcome indicators in 2019 to illustrate whether there is positive or negative movement over time towards achieving the outcomes. Indicators can only illustrate an aspect of an outcome and the influence of the Department over any indicator will only be partial.

To the extent that we can, we will continue to show the trend in movement but for a significant proportion of the indicators recent data has not been available. This has been due to some surveys or reports being discontinued or delayed due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the data that is available, the trend line has generally remained consistent, indicating stable performance.