How to search and browse


Quick search

Use the Quick search box to quickly search for document titles or document contents. You can use the drop-down menu to change which categories of documents you are searching; you can also toggle between searching titles and searching contents.

Quick search does not search all legislation on the website

Quick search searches only the following types of legislation:

Quick search does not search:

  • in-force amendment legislation
  • repealed Acts
  • revoked Legislative Instruments
  • Bills that are not current (enacted and terminated Bills)
  • content within Other Instruments.

Use the Advanced search tab to search across all legislation on the website.

Title search

This is the default. Type in one or two words from the document’s title in any order. As you type, a list of suggestions will appear. (Note that not-yet-in-force amendment legislation is excluded from this list of suggestions, but will still be included in Quick search results.)

Content search

Click on content to change from title search. A content search looks for words within documents, as well as words in the titles. This option is not available for Other Instruments.

Refine your search

You can use Boolean and other terms to refine your search. See Search help for more information. Note that stemming is always applied to Quick search, so for example a search for govern will also find governs, governed, and governing. If you wish to turn stemming off, you can do this using Advanced search.

Advanced search

The Advanced search tab lets you search across Acts, Bills, Legislative Instruments, Other Instruments, or any combination of these.

Use Advanced search to narrow your search by specifying year, document number, and section or clause number.

Use Advanced search to narrow your search by type. For Acts you can select any combination of public, local, private, provincial, and imperial Acts. For Bills you can select any combination of Government, local, private, and members' Bills.

Use Advanced search to widen your search to include:

Note that only the title and year fields of Other Instruments can be searched. If you include Other Instruments in a search that specifies criteria in the title or year fields, plus other fields, Other Instruments will be returned in the results if they fit the title or year criteria. If you include Other Instruments in a search that does not specify any criteria for title or year, no Other Instruments will be returned.

To find out about the different options under Advanced search, hover your mouse over the ? symbols, or click them for more information. See also What is on this website.

When searching content, you can use the drop-down list to govern your search—useful if you enter more than one word. When searching years, you can enter a range of years.

Stemming is applied by default to the title and content fields; untick the box to turn it off. Stemming means that variants of a word are included in the search, as well as the word itself. So, for example, with stemming turned on a search for govern will also find governs, governed, and governing. If you use quotation marks to define a phrase, or select "This exact phrase" for searching content, stemming will still apply to words in the phrase unless you turn it off.

When searching title or content, there are other ways to refine your search, such as by using Boolean terms. See Search help for more information.

My recent searches

Click on My recent searches under Quick Search for a list of all the searches you have performed in the past 13 days. To repeat a search, click on its name. You can then see what specific search terms you used, and modify them if you wish, by clicking on Modify search options.

Browsing

Use the Browse tab to produce lists of titles, and then view the documents you want.

You can browse by title or by year. You can browse any combination of Acts, Bills, and Legislative Instruments, or you can browse Other Instruments. You can include or exclude amendment Acts or Legislative Instruments, and enacted Bills.

Note that you cannot browse for repealed or enacted Acts, revoked or as-made Legislative Instruments, or terminated Bills. Find them using Advanced search instead.

Navigate around search and browse results

If your search or browse finds any documents, you will see their titles listed. To view one of the documents, click on its title.

Some documents may display a message in the Alerts column. If there are amendments to be made to the document that have not yet been incorporated, "Some amendments have not yet been incorporated" is displayed. If some of those amendments are already in force, a warning icon is also displayed. Clicking on the message will take you to the document's Versions and amendments tab for further details. (Note that this does not apply to Other Instruments.)

If your results include documents of more than one type (ie a mixture of Acts, Bills, Legislative Instruments, Other Instruments), a column specifying Type is displayed. If your results only include Other Instruments, the results will be displayed ordered by the authorising Act under which they were made.

You can change how your results are presented. Sort by: shows how the results are sorted, and lets you select other options. By default, title searches and browses are sorted by title, while content searches are sorted by number of hits. (This does not apply to Other Instruments.) Show: lets you select the number of results per page. The default is 25.

If you performed a content search, you can click on the number of hits for a particular document to see a list of where those hits appear. Then, clicking on the provision heading will take you to the relevant provision in the document.

Modify your search or browse

You can modify the search or browse terms you used, and then search or browse again. For a search, first click on + Modify search options.

To include amendment legislation

If you performed a Quick search, you can opt to include amendment legislation for Acts or Legislative Instruments by clicking on the word [include]. If you performed an Advanced search and wish to include amendment legislation, first expand search options (+ Modify search options) and then select Amendment Acts [or Legislative Instruments] in force.

Navigate around a document

Clicking on a document's title on a results page will take you to that document. (For Other Instruments, see below.) There are two options for viewing a document: By sections (or By clauses), and View whole (to see the entire Act, Bill, or Legislative Instrument)—plus Versions and amendments (or Versions and SOPs) for information about the document. Use the tabs to change view.

The Contents button returns you to the table of contents, which you can use to navigate by clicking on sections (or clauses). When you view a document by sections (or clauses), you can also navigate using the Previous section and Next section buttons (or Previous clause and Next clause).

Versions and amendments: for Acts and Legislative Instruments

The Versions and amendments tab provides information about the document's current status and history.

Amendments not yet added: If there are amendments that have not yet been added to the document, they will be listed here whether or not they are in force. The warning icon highlights any that are in force. Click on the name of the amending legislation to view it.

Versions of this Act (or Legislative Instrument): This lists all versions of the document from 4 September 2007. You may need to click on + Show older versions to see them all. Click on a version’s title to view it, or download its PDF from this screen.

Related Bill (applies to Acts only): this provides a link to the most recent version of the related Bill, if available through this website.

List of amendments incorporated in this version: Also listed are the amendments, if any, that have been made to the version of the document you are viewing. If the document is not official, it will list unverified amendments incorporated since September 2007.

Versions and SOPs: for Bills

The Versions and SOPs tab lists all available versions of the document, as well as any related Acts and any related Supplementary Order Papers (SOPs). Click on a document’s title to view it, or download its PDF from this screen.

Navigating after searching

If you reached a document from a content search, you can use the Previous hit and Next hit buttons to navigate between hits. Hits are highlighted. To return to your search results, click on Back to search results.

Other Instruments information pages

Clicking on an Other Instrument's title on a results page will take you to that document's information page. Other Instruments are not hosted directly on this website; instead, we provide a link to the document, usually on the website of the agency that administers them, or to the relevant New Zealand Gazette. Limited information about each Other Instrument is held on the New Zealand Legislation website, which is why only searching and browsing by title and year are available. For more information about the Other Instruments, contact the administering agency.

Search within

Use Search within to find text within a document. The results list the hits where the text appears. Then, clicking on the provision heading takes you to the relevant provision in the document.

You can then use the Previous hit and Next hit buttons to navigate between hits. Hits are highlighted. To return to your search results, click on Back to search results.

There are ways to refine your search, such as by using Boolean terms. See Search help for more information. Note that stemming is always applied to Quick search, so for example a search for govern will also find governs, governed, and governing. If you wish to turn stemming off, you can do this using Advanced search.

If you want to search within a document, we recommend that you use the Search within feature, rather than downloading the PDF and searching within it which can produce unreliable results.

Search within is not available for Other Instruments.

Search tips—how do I find ...?

Amendment legislation—as opposed to principal legislation

This website is a source of up-to-date legislation, which means that the amendments are incorporated into the text of the principal Act or Legislative Instrument as soon as possible after they come into force (for timings, see How up to date is this website?).

Amendment legislation is available through Advanced search (or, with fewer options, through Browse) rather than Quick search (although not-yet-in-force amendment legislation is available through Quick search). See also Modify your search or browse on adding amendment legislation to your search results.

Amendments to Other Instruments, if available through this website, can be found using Quick search, Advanced search, or Browse. If not available through this website, they may be available from the relevant agency's website.

Repealed or revoked legislation

Acts repealed and Legislative Instruments revoked after 4 September 2007 are available on this website. To search for repealed or revoked legislation, use Advanced search rather than Quick search or Browse. Then select Repealed Acts and/or Revoked Legislative Instruments. Revoked Other Instruments are not available through this website.

See the New Zealand Acts 1841–2007 As-Enacted Collection and Where else is legislation available from? for other sources of legislation.

Bills that are no longer current: enacted Bills and terminated Bills

To find Bills that are no longer current, use Advanced search or Browse rather than Quick search. Advanced search allows you to search for both enacted and terminated Bills; Browse lets you include enacted Bills but not terminated Bills. See What is on this website for which older Bills are available, and Where else is legislation available from? for other places to find them.

Supplementary Order Papers

To find a Supplementary Order Paper (SOP), first navigate to its related Bill. You will then find any Supplementary Order Papers under the Versions and SOPs tab.

Legislation on a particular topic

If you don’t know which piece of legislation is relevant, you can search the content of all Acts or all Legislative Instruments to find your topic. Note that searching will only find words actually used in legislation, and that the content of Other Instruments cannot be searched.

Alternatively, you can use newzealand.govt.nz to search for the topic you are interested in.

More search techniques

There are various techniques you can use to achieve more powerful searching on this website, such as Boolean searching, proximity searching, and using wildcards. For more on these techniques, see Search help.

What can’t be found by searching

If text appears within a graphic, it cannot be found by searching. Graphics can include pictures, diagrams, maps, and some charts, tables, and forms.

In Legislative Instruments made before March 2013, it may not be possible to search for text within the signature block. The signature block comes at the end of a Legislative Instrument before the explanatory note. This text can only be found by using the View whole view of the document, or in the PDF.