MFAT as a Child Welfare Protection Agency

On 14 July 2022 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) was officially designated as a Child Welfare and Protection Agency (CWPA) under the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989.

Designating MFAT as a CWPA enables some staff within MFAT to share and receive information with other CWPAs such as Oranga Tamariki to help ensure the well-being and safety of children and young people. Given MFAT’s international focus, it can hold relevant information concerning the safety and well-being of tamariki both offshore, in respect of our consular cases, and within New Zealand, in respect of foreign nationals.

Business Units within MFAT which are likely to use this information sharing provision are:

  • Consular Division: which is responsible for ensuring that assistance and advice are available to New Zealanders living and travelling overseas. Consular work can include helping individuals, including tamariki, in distress overseas, as well as responding to large scale emergencies such as natural disasters or terrorist attacks where New Zealanders are involved.
  • Protocol Division: is responsible for overseeing the presence of the diplomatic and consular corps in New Zealand, including their families. The Division works closely with Foreign Missions in New Zealand, where appropriate, on issues concerning their nationals in New Zealand.

MFAT has safeguards in place to meet the requirements for information sharing as a CWPA. In summary it will:

  • Only share information for the reasons and purposes set out in section 66C(external link) of the Oranga Tamariki Act;
  • Only share information relevant to the well-being or safety of tamariki;
  • If possible and appropriate, talk with tamariki about sharing their information; and
  • Comply with the Privacy Act 2020 requirements for handling personal information.

Further relevant material on information sharing and CWPAs:


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