New Zealand Law Society - Shortage of Notaries Public in rural areas

Shortage of Notaries Public in rural areas

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A shortage of notaries public in rural areas is prompting a call from the New Zealand Society of Notaries for qualified lawyers who might be interested in applying to be a Notary Public.

Society President Stewart Germann says there are over 200 Notaries Public in New Zealand, but many provincial areas do not have anyone.

A Notary Public in New Zealand who obtains prior approval from the New Zealand Society of Notaries is appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury through the Faculty Office in London; and a Notary Public will normally be asked to certify the authenticity of documents for use overseas.  

Usually a Notary prepares a Notarial Certificate which is attached to a document presented to him or her certifying that the document is a true copy of the original, or is authentic.  Sometimes in New Zealand a Notary is presented with a document in a foreign language which he or she does not understand so the certificate needs to be qualified.

“To qualify for consideration as a Notary Public in New Zealand a lawyer must hold a practising certificate of at least 10 years and out of that period have been a Partner or Principal of a law firm for at least 5 years,” Mr Germann says.  

“The Society of Notaries would very much like to hear from lawyers in rural areas where there is a lack of notarial services who would qualify and who are interested in carrying out the process for applying to be a Notary Public.”

Mr Germann says that while the largest population centres are well-served, many areas have no-one able to serve as a notary.

“For example, in the Far North there is one Notary in Kaitaia and one in Russell but none in Kerikeri. In Northland there are five in Whangarei and none in Dargaville.  Auckland is serviced very well but in the Waikato there are none in Huntly, Otorohanga or Te Kuiti.

“In the Bay of Plenty there is one in Katikati, two in Rotorua, six in Tauranga, one in Whakatane and none in Te Puke.  In Gisborne there are two and in the whole of Taranaki there are three in New Plymouth and nowhere else.  In the Manawatu/Whanganui region there are nine with one in Feilding, one in Levin, one in Marton, three in Palmerston North, one in Taumaranui and nine in Whanganui.

“In Coromandel there is one Notary in Whitianga but none in Coromandel Town, Thames or Whangamata. There are two in Blenheim, four in Nelson and Canterbury and Otago are serviced quite well.  However, when it comes to the West Coast there are no Notaries in Greymouth, Hokitika and Westport so travel is involved for members of the public requiring notarial services.  In Southland there is one in Gore and one in Invercargill.”

Stewart Germann says any practitioners who meet the requirements and who are interested can email Tracey Merlini, Secretary of the Society at email:

This article differs slightly from the printed version of LawTalk, Issue 923.

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