Department of Internal Affairs (New Zealand)

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Department of Internal Affairs
Te Tari Taiwhenua
Agency overview
Formed 1840
Preceding Agency Colonial Secretary's Office
Jurisdiction New Zealand
Headquarters 46 Waring Taylor St,
41°16′55″S 174°46′35″E / 41.281821°S 174.776408°E / -41.281821; 174.776408
Annual budget Vote Internal Affairs
Total budget for 2014/15
Minister responsible Hon Peter Dunne[2]
- Minister of Internal Affairs
Agency executive Colin Macdonald
- Secretary / Chief Executive
- Secretary for
Local Government
- Government Chief
Information Officer
Child agencies Archives New Zealand
New Zealand Lottery Grants Board
Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management
Local Government Commission
National Library of New Zealand
Office for the Community & Voluntary Sector
Office of Ethnic Affairs

The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) (Internal Affairs) (Māori: Te Tari Taiwhenua) is the public service department of New Zealand charged with issuing passports; administering applications for citizenship and lottery grants; enforcing censorship and gambling laws; registering births, deaths, marriages and civil unions; supplying support services to Ministers of the Crown; and advising the government on a range of relevant policies and issues, part of a number of functions performed by Internal Affairs.

Other services provided by the Department include a translation service, publication of the New Zealand Gazette (the official newspaper of the New Zealand Government), a flag hire service, management of VIP visits to New Zealand, running the Lake Taupo harbourmaster's office (under a special agreement with the local iwi) and the administration of offshore islands.

On 25 March 2010, the former Minister of State Services Tony Ryall announced that Archives New Zealand and the National Library of New Zealand would be merged into the Department.[3] Library and Archives stakeholders have expressed serious concerns about the changes proposed.[4] During the late 1990s both the Library and Archives were separated from the Department along with the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.


The Department of Internal Affairs traces its roots back to the Colonial Secretary's Office, which from the time New Zealand became a British colony, in 1840, was responsible for almost all central Government duties. The Department was the fist government department to be established in New Zealand. Many of these responsibilities were lost as new departments and ministries were formed. The office's name was changed to the Department of Internal Affairs in 1907, and it became the home for a diverse range of government functions providing services to New Zealanders and advice to Ministers of the Crown. This role continues to the present day, as new roles and functions have come into the Department and others have been transferred elsewhere.[5]

Related organisations[edit]

The Department of Internal Affairs encompasses several organisations. These include the Office of Ethnic Affairs, which provides information to ethnic communities and policy advice to the government; the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management, which manages the national response to civil defence emergencies, provides leadership of the sector including the development of standards and guidance and leads a coordinated national public education campaign; and the Local Government Commission, which makes decisions on the structure and representation requirements of local government. The Department's present activities also include the implementation of recent dog control and local government legislation.

The Department also has responsibility for supporting the community and voluntary sector through the Office for the Community and Voluntary Sector.

The Knowledge, Information, Research and Technology (KIRT) Branch includes the Government Chief Information Officer (GCIO), vested in the Chief Executive of the Department of Internal Affairs which has responsibility for developing and overseeing the government's ICT (Information, Communications and Technology) strategy and providing strategic advice on related matters. The KIRT branch also includes the National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Māturanga o Aotearoa and Archives New Zealand, Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga. (These two organisations were integrated into the Department on 1 February 2011.

Another branch - Shared Services - provides secretariat support for several entities including:

  • The Gambling Commission
  • The Local Government Commission
  • Commissions of Inquiry and ad hoc bodies (as of October 2011 there are two Royal Commissions operating:
    1. the Royal Commission on the Pike River Coal Mine tragedy
    2. the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission.)
  • The Library and Information Advisory Commission, Ngā Kaiwhakamārama i ngā Kohikohinga Kōrero
  • The Public Lending Right Advisory Group
  • The Guardians Kaitiaki of the Alexander Turnbull Library
  • The Archives Council
  • The Film and Literature Board of Review
  • Confidential Listening and Assistance Service


The Department serves 6 portfolios and 7 ministers.[6]

Rt Hon John Key - Minister Responsible for Ministerial Services
Hon Peter Dunne Lead Minister (Department of Internal Affairs)
- Minister of Internal Affairs
Hon Paula Bennett - Minister of Local Government
Hon Nathan Guy - Minister for Racing
Hon Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga - Minister for Ethnic Communities
Hon Jo Goodhew - Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector
Hon Louise Upston - Associate Minister of Local Government

List of Ministers of Internal Affairs[edit]

The following persons have served as the New Zealand Minister of Internal Affairs[7] since the Department of Internal Affairs replaced the Colonial Secretary's Office in 1907:

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "Total Appropriations for Each Vote". Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  2. ^ "Peter Dunne looks forward to 'picking up the threads'". Television New Zealand. 2014-01-21. Retrieved 2014-01-30. Mr Dunne has been appointed Minister of Internal Affairs, Associate Minister of Health and Associate Minister of Conservation [...]. [...] The Governor-General will swear in the new Ministers next Tuesday. 
  3. ^ " - State sector changes to improve performance". Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  4. ^ "Underpinning democracy: the future of Archives New Zealand  : Press release". Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  5. ^ "History of the Department". The Department of Internal Affairs. Retrieved 10 March 2015. 
  6. ^ "Ministerial List for Announcement on 6 October 2014" (PDF). Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  7. ^ "Ministries, etc". Retrieved 2013-02-04. 
  8. ^ "THE NEW ZEALAND OFFICIAL YEAR-BOOK, 1913". Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  9. ^ Butterworth, Graham (2012-10-30), "Story: Pomare, Maui Wiremu Piti Naera", Dictionary of New Zealand Biography (Te Ara), retrieved 2014-01-30, [...] in 1928 [he] served temporarily as minister of internal affairs.  |chapter= ignored (help)
  10. ^ Bassett, Michael (1997). The Mother of All Departments: The History of the Department of Internal Affairs. Auckland University Press. p. 85. ISBN 9781869401757. Retrieved 2014-02-03. [...] in the National Coalition government [... a] dour Southland farmer, Adam Hamilton, was minister of Internal Affairs until January 1933 [...] 
  11. ^ Gustafson, Barry (2012-10-30). "Parry, William Edward". Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Retrieved 2014-02-04. Parry [...] was an automatic choice for Savage's first cabinet in 1935, and served as minister of internal affairs until 1949 [...]. 
  12. ^ Brooking, Tom (2013-06-05). "Bodkin, William Alexander". Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Retrieved 2014-02-04. When National won the treasury benches in 1949, he served as minister of internal affairs [...] 
  13. ^ Bassett, Michael (1997). The Mother of All Departments: The History of the Department of Internal Affairs. Auckland University Press. p. 194. ISBN 9781869401757. Retrieved 2014-01-30. Margaret Austin [...] succeeded [Michael Bassett] as Minister of Internal Affairs in February 1990 [...] 
  14. ^ Bassett, Michael (1997). The Mother of All Departments: The History of the Department of Internal Affairs. Auckland University Press. p. 270. ISBN 9781869401757. Retrieved 2014-01-31. After [Warren] Cooper's election to the [Queenstown] mayoralty [in October 1995] Bolger announced that he expected him to stand down as Minister of Internal Affairs in the New Year. Reluctantly, Cooper obliged. 
  15. ^ "Nathan Guy appointed as a Minister". 2009-06-15. Retrieved 2014-02-04. National's senior whip Nathan Guy has been appointed as Internal Affairs Minister to replace Richard Worth, Prime Minister John Key said today. 
  16. ^ "Key brings new faces to front bench". Radio New Zealand. 2011-12-12. Retrieved 2014-02-03. [...A]fter a Cabinet reshuffle announced by Prime Minister John Key [... t]here are four new ministers in the lineup. Selwyn MP and former Finance select committee chairperson, Amy Adams, is ranked 20 and is inside Cabinet. She will be Minister of Internal Affairs and Minister for Communications and Information Technology. 
  17. ^ "PM prepared to deal with NZ First". Radio New Zealand News. 2014-01-21. Retrieved 2014-01-30. The Prime Minister [...] reinstated Peter Dunne as a minister. [...] Peter Dunne will be the Minister of Internal Affairs, Associate Health Minister and Associate Minister of Conservation outside of Cabinet. [...] The changes take effect from 28 January. 

External links[edit]