A record of historic births, deaths and marriages has been made accessible from today on a website developed by the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA).
The website would be useful to genealogists and people who wanted historical birth, death and marriage information about their relatives, said Internal Affairs Minister Richard Worth.
It includes details about births that occurred at least 100 years ago, stillbirths that occurred at least 50 years ago, marriages that occurred 80 years ago, and deaths that occurred at least 50 years ago or if the deceased's date of birth was at least 80 years ago.
The historic data is limited so information relating to people who might still be alive can be protected, Dr Worth said.
Site users can enter a family name and dates , or a registration number, to get the information and can use a credit card to order a certificate if needed.
A restrictive Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Registration Amendment Bill was opposed by researchers, historians and journalists when brought before Parliament a couple of years ago.
It was written to protect the public from identity fraud and misuse of personal information, but after some opposition the Internal Affairs minister Rick Barker sought to have it changed to balance protections against transparency and legitimate research.
Since January 25 this year, people wanting access to more recent birth, death, marriage, civil union or name change records need to show evidence of their identity and apply by post, fax or in person at Births, Deaths and Marriages offices in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland.
When applying for a certificate or related products for recent records, people need to sign a written statement saying the information they are providing is true and correct.
The statement must also be signed by a person of standing in the community.
The website can also be accessed here.