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What the Ombudsman does

Ngā mahi a te Kaitiaki Mana Tangata

The Ombudsman handles complaints about and investigates the administrative conduct of public sector agencies, including official information requests.

They also carry out a range of roles that contribute to protecting your rights, such as inspecting places of detention, and monitoring the way the UN Disabilities Convention is applied in New Zealand. 

They provide advice, guidance and training to public sector agencies, and promote awareness of their role to the wider community.

Outside of New Zealand, they work across the Asia Pacific region to help develop international best practice.

What the Ombudsman can do - in two minutes

This video explains the role of the New Zealand Ombudsman.

Watch the video in te reo Māori

Watch the video in New Zealand Sign Language


The Ombudsman helps people deal with central and local government in New Zealand.

We handle complaints against government agencies, seek resolution and carry out investigations and inspections.

We give feedback and guidance to agencies to help them improve and initiate wider investigations where we see the need.

The Ombudsman is independent from both government and the public.

We have 6 main jobs:

  1. Fair treatment by government agencies. If you think you’ve been treated badly by a government agency, and you aren’t happy with their response to your complaint, we might be able to help you.

  2. Official information requests. You can ask for information from a government agency or a Minister. If you’re unhappy with the response to your information request you can complain to us.

  3. Listening to reports of serious-wrongdoing. If you think someone at your workplace at a public or private organisation has done something very wrong, you can talk to us. This is called ‘whistle-blowing’ or ‘making a protected disclosure’.

  4. Monitoring places of detention. We monitor places of detention such as prisons, secure aged-care units and mental health facilities to make sure they are looking after people in the right way.

  5. Making sure disabled people are treated fairly. We make sure the Government is making the rights in the Disability Convention real for disabled people

  6. Supporting children, young people and whanau already engaged with Oranga Tamariki. We can investigate issues and receive complaints about Oranga Tamariki or its care and custody providers.

You can find more information here on our website at

Protecting your rights

The Ombudsman doesn't just investigate complaints. They have a range of other roles that contribute to protecting your rights and ensuring that you're being treated fairly.

Serious wrongdoing at work (whistleblowing)

Monitoring places of detention

Fair treatment for disabled people

Improve fairness for all

The Ombudsman provides advice and guidance, offers training to public sector agencies, conducts outreach activities and speaking engagements.

Advice and training

Resources for agencies

International best practice

The Ombudsman provides support to international counterparts through training, advice and resource development.

New Zealand Ombudsmen have held key leadership roles in the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI).

Read about how the Ombudsman collaborates with international counterparts


The powers and functions of the Ombudsman are contained in six main pieces of legislation.

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