Reprint as at 1 December 2014

Human Rights Act 1993

Public Act1993 No 82
Date of assent10 August 1993
Commencementsee section 1(2)


Changes authorised by subpart 2 of Part 2 of the Legislation Act 2012 have been made in this official reprint.

Note 4 at the end of this reprint provides a list of the amendments incorporated.

This Act is administered by the Ministry of Justice.



1 Short Title and commencement

2 Interpretation

3 Act to bind the Crown

Part 1
Human Rights Commission

4 Continuation of Human Rights Commission

Functions and powers of Commission

5 Functions of Commission

6 Powers relating to declaratory judgments

Activities in performance of Commission's functions

7 Commission determines general nature of activities

Membership of Commission

8 Membership of Commission

9 Alternate Commissioners

Functions of Commissioners


10 Meetings of Commission

Criteria for appointment

11 Criteria for appointment

Complaints Division


12 Further criteria for appointment of Chief Commissioner

13 Further criteria for appointment of Race Relations Commissioner

Further provisions on Commissioners and alternate Commissioners


14 Further criteria for appointment of Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner

Functions of Commissioners

15 Functions of Chief Commissioner

16 Functions of Race Relations Commissioner

17 Functions of Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner

General manager and staff of Commission

18 General manager and staff of Commission

Commissioners to act independently

19 Duty to act independently

Office of Human Rights Proceedings

20 Office of Human Rights Proceedings

Director of Human Rights Proceedings

20A Director of Human Rights Proceedings

20B Criteria and requirement for appointment

Appointment of Judge as Human Rights Commissioner

20C Appointment of Judge as Human Rights Commissioner

Provisions relating to office holders

20D Office holders to whom sections 20E to 20G apply

20E Service in office [Repealed]

20F Term of office

20G Vacation of office

Administrative provisions relating to Human Rights Commission and Office of Human Rights Proceedings

20H Administrative provisions set out in Schedules 1 and 2

Part 1A
Discrimination by Government, related persons and bodies, or persons or bodies acting with legal authority

20I Purpose of this Part

20J Acts or omissions in relation to which this Part applies

20K Purposes for which section 20L applies

20L Acts or omissions in breach of this Part

Part 2
Unlawful discrimination

Application of Part to persons and bodies referred to in section 3 of New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990

21A Application of this Part limited if section 3 of New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 applies

Acts or omissions authorised or required by law

21B Relationship between this Part and other law

Prohibited grounds of discrimination

21 Prohibited grounds of discrimination

Discrimination in employment matters

22 Employment

23 Particulars of applicants for employment

Exceptions in relation to employment matters

24 Exception in relation to crews of ships and aircraft

25 Exception in relation to work involving national security

26 Exception in relation to work performed outside New Zealand

27 Exceptions in relation to authenticity and privacy

28 Exceptions for purposes of religion

29 Further exceptions in relation to disability

30 Further exceptions in relation to age

30A Exception in relation to employment-related retirement benefits

31 Exception in relation to employment of a political nature

32 Exception in relation to family status

33 Armed forces [Repealed]

34 Regular forces

35 General qualification on exceptions

Discrimination in partnerships

36 Partnerships

Discrimination by industrial and professional associations, qualifying bodies, and vocational training bodies

37 Organisations of employees or employers and professional and trade associations

38 Qualifying bodies

39 Exceptions in relation to qualifying bodies

40 Vocational training bodies

41 Exceptions in relation to vocational training bodies

Discrimination in access to places, vehicles, and facilities

42 Access by the public to places, vehicles, and facilities

43 Exceptions in relation to access by the public to places, vehicles, and facilities

Discrimination in provision of goods and services

44 Provision of goods and services

45 Exception in relation to courses and counselling

46 Exception in relation to public decency or safety

47 Exception in relation to skill

48 Exception in relation to insurance

49 Exception in relation to sport

50 Exception in relation to travel services

51 Exception in relation to reduced charges

52 Exception in relation to disability

Discrimination in provision of land, housing, and other accommodation

53 Land, housing, and other accommodation

54 Exception in relation to shared residential accommodation

55 Exception in relation to hostels, institutions, etc

56 Further exception in relation to disability

Discrimination in access to educational establishments

57 Educational establishments

58 Exceptions in relation to establishments for particular groups

59 Exception in relation to courses and counselling

60 Further exceptions in relation to disability

Other forms of discrimination

61 Racial disharmony

62 Sexual harassment

63 Racial harassment

64 Choice of procedures [Repealed]

65 Indirect discrimination

66 Victimisation

67 Advertisements

68 Liability of employer and principals

69 Further provision in relation to sexual or racial harassment in employment

Special provisions relating to superannuation schemes

70 Superannuation schemes

71 Reports on superannuation schemes

72 Power to vary trust deeds

Other matters

73 Measures to ensure equality

74 Measures relating to pregnancy, childbirth, or family responsibilities

Part 3
Resolution of disputes about compliance with Part 1A and Part 2

75 Object of this Part

76 Functions of Commission under this Part

77 Dispute resolution services

78 Method of providing services

79 How complaints received to be treated

79A Choice of procedures

80 Taking action or further action in relation to complaint

81 Commission to inform parties of process

82 Information gathering and disclosure by Commission

83 Settlement

84 Reference of complaint to Director or from Director or Tribunal

85 Confidentiality of information disclosed at dispute resolution meeting

86 Evidence as to dispute resolution meeting

87 Certain information not to be made available

88 Limits on effect of section 80(1) or sections 85 to 87

89 Enforcement of terms of settlement agreed by parties

90 Functions of Director of Human Rights Proceedings under this Part

91 Requirements for Director's decisions under section 90

92 Matters Director to have regard to in deciding whether to provide representation in proceedings before Tribunal or in related proceedings

92A Director to notify and report on decisions on representation


92B Civil proceedings arising from complaints

92BA Lodging of applications

92C Representation in civil proceedings arising from complaints

92D Tribunal may refer complaint back to Commission, or adjourn proceedings to seek resolution by settlement

92E Civil proceedings arising from inquiry by Commission

92F Proof of justified limits and exceptions

92G Right of Attorney-General to appear in civil proceedings

92H Right of Commission to appear in civil proceedings


92I Remedies

92J Remedy for enactments in breach of Part 1A

92K Effect of declaration

92L Costs

92M Damages

92N Directions as to payment of damages in certain cases

92O Tribunal may defer or modify remedies for breach of Part 1A or Part 2 or terms of settlement

92P Matters to be taken into account in exercising powers given by section 92O

Monetary limits on remedies Tribunal may grant

92Q Monetary limits on remedies Tribunal may grant

Granting of remedies by High Court on reference from Tribunal

92R Tribunal to refer granting of remedies to High Court

92S Further provisions on reference to High Court

92T High Court decides remedies on reference from Tribunal

92U High Court's decision on remedies to be included in, and given effect to as part of, Tribunal's determination

Abandonment or agreement to bring claim within Tribunal's jurisdiction

92V Abandonment to enable Tribunal to make award of damages

92W Extension of jurisdiction by agreement between parties

Part 4
Human Rights Review Tribunal

93 Human Rights Review Tribunal

Functions and powers of Tribunal

94 Functions of Tribunal

95 Power to make interim order

96 Review of interim orders

97 Power in respect of exception for genuine occupational qualification or genuine justification

Constitution of Tribunal

98 Membership of Tribunal

99 Chairpersons of Tribunal

99A Criteria and requirement for appointment of Chairpersons

100 Appointment and term of office

101 Panel

102 Deputy Chairperson

103 Vacation of office by Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson

Procedure of Tribunal

104 Sittings of Tribunal

105 Substantial merits

106 Evidence in proceedings before Tribunal

107 Sittings to be held in public except in special circumstances

108 Persons entitled to be heard

108A Tribunal to give notice of proceedings

108B Submissions in relation to remedies

109 Witness summons

110 Service of summons

111 Witnesses' allowances

112 Privileges and immunities

113 Non-attendance or refusal to co-operate

114 Power to commit for contempt

115 Tribunal may dismiss trivial, etc, proceedings

116 Reasons to be given

117 Seal of Tribunal

118 Members of Tribunal not personally liable

119 Fees of members of Tribunal

120 Services for Tribunal

121 Enforcement

122 Stating case for High Court

122A Removal to High Court of proceedings or issue

122B Proceedings or issue removed to High Court

123 Appeals to High Court

124 Appeal to Court of Appeal on a question of law

125 Costs of appeal

126 Additional members of High Court for purposes of Act

Part 5
Powers in relation to inquiries

126A Evidence order

127 Evidence

128 Protection and privileges of witnesses, etc

129 Disclosure of certain matters not to be required

130 Proceedings privileged

Part 6
Inciting racial disharmony

131 Inciting racial disharmony

132 No prosecution without Attorney-General's consent

Part 7
Miscellaneous provisions

133 Licences and registration

134 Access by the public to places, vehicles, and facilities

135 No prosecution without Attorney-General's consent

136 Condition in restraint of marriage, civil union, or de facto relationship

137 Advisors to be officials

138 No adverse statement

139 Restriction on delegation

140 Delegation of powers by certain Commissioners

141 Annual report [Repealed]

141A Certain acts not to be questioned

142 Money to be appropriated by Parliament for purposes of this Act [Repealed]

143 Offences

144 Regulations

145 Related amendments to other enactments [Repealed]

146 Repeals [Repealed]

147 Revocation [Repealed]

Transitional provisions

148 Former office of Commissioner abolished

148A Certain former Commissioners to be transitional members of Commission

Race Relations Conciliator

148B Assets and liabilities vest in Commission

148C References to Race Relations Conciliator

148D Proceedings

148E Commission to arrange final audited accounts

148F All employees transferred to Commission

Proceedings Commissioner

148G Proceedings Commissioner

148H References to Proceedings Commissioner

148I Proceedings to which Proceedings Commissioner party

148J Complaints referred to Proceedings Commissioner for decision as to proceedings

148K Transfer of employees from Commission to Office

Complaints Division

148L Complaints Division abolished

148M Outstanding complaints to be dealt with by Commission under new procedure

148N Breaches of Part 1A

148O Complaints about breaches of Part 1A


149 Special provisions in relation to written employment contracts in force on 1 April 1992

150 Charitable instruments

151 Other enactments and actions not affected [Repealed]

152 Expiry of section 151 [Repealed]

153 Savings

Schedule 1
Administrative provisions applying in respect of Commission

Schedule 2
Administrative provisions applying in respect of Office of Human Rights Proceedings

Schedule 3
Enactments repealed


Human Rights Amendment Act 1994

Reprint notes

An Act to consolidate and amend the Race Relations Act 1971 and the Human Rights Commission Act 1977 and to provide better protection of human rights in New Zealand in general accordance with United Nations Covenants or Conventions on Human Rights