Thousands of marriage celebrants preside over weddings in New Zealand every year and the annual process of renewing their registration used to be challenging.

The old, largely paper-based process — which involved a selection of coloured forms being mailed to every registered celebrant — was so labour-intensive that the organisation needed extra people to help manage the workload during peak periods.

For Te Tari Taiwhenua, the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA), managing celebrants is just one of numerous roles for its public services teams, who also oversee passports, citizenship, name changes, and the registration and certification of all births, deaths, marriages, and civil unions.

DIA needed a streamlined, secure, online process that would allow existing celebrants to renew their registration and aspiring celebrants to apply.

The solution also needed to alleviate some of the hands-on administration for the Births, Deaths and Marriages team, which included the annual registration renewals, and emails and calls throughout the year from celebrants needing to update their registry contact details.

Working closely alongside DIA — including colocating teams from both organisations — and using an agile minimum viable product (MVP) approach, Datacom codeveloped the web application with weekly demonstrations and input from the wider business.

To keep costs down, get the project done more quickly, and deliver a better, future-proofed solution, Datacom built on the capability available in Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Adding to the security of the system, the solution makes use of RealMe, DIA’s online identity management service, which was also built collaboratively with Datacom.

The outcome of the project? Processing and approval of celebrant applications is now fully digital. By accessing the AWS-powered platform, Celebrants Online, and using their RealMe-verified identity, celebrants can now manage all their registration processes online, including updating their details. The public can also easily search for registered celebrants in their region.

“The current online service makes the renewal so much easier to administer, more efficient, simpler, and convenient for both celebrants and DIA,” says Vaughan Millar, Kaitohutohu Matua, DIA.

“The platform allows DIA to engage more securely with celebrants with the RealMe integration allowing DIA to easily verify identity,” says DIA systems analyst Jesse Stuart.

“In my time managing Celebrants Online there has not been an outage, which shows the resilience of the system and how well it was developed.”

Six years on from its implementation the system has proven to be secure, resilient, and successful — 99.98 per cent of all renewals and applications are now managed completely online.

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