New Zealand passport to get a security makeover

An updated version of the New Zealand passport with enhanced security features is set to be phased in by Te Tari Taiwhenua Department of Internal Affairs [DIA]. However, the current lack of demand for passports due to Covid-19 means not all applicants will be issued with the new and improved travel document, as the DIA is still trying to use up the old ones.

In a statement, the DIA said the new security features would make the New Zealand passport “one of the most technologically advanced passports in the world”. New features on the data page included the use of thermochromic ink, which becomes invisible at a certain temperature and reappears at the set point temperature. This is the first time ever that the ink has been used in a polycarbonate data page passport.

The new data page would also feature a special kinegram, or moving picture, to protect the primary image from being tampered with or manipulated, as well as a second, kiwi-shaped portrait window. The silver fern and coat of arms would remain on the cover. But one change was that te reo Māori would appear before English on the cover and throughout the book.

The DIA said to prevent wastage of existing book stock, they would continue to issue current passports until they had run out. But the impacts of Covid-19 on travel meant it would take longer than anticipated to use up the old stock. At least 400,000 Kiwis have been sitting on expired passports with international travel off the cards, though the DIA has been encouraging people to renew them.