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The role of the Notary Public in New Zealand could be no better described than as appears on the New Zealand Society of Notaries website see here.

A notary public (sometimes called a notary or a public notary) in New Zealand is a lawyer authorised by the Archbishop of Canterbury in England to officially witness signatures on legal documents, collect sworn statements, administer oaths and certify the authenticity of legal documents usually for use overseas.

Witnessing Signature : Identification

To officially witness signatures may at first sight appear to be a simple task.  However things are not always simple.  The person appearing before a Notary may not be who they appear to be, even in New Zealand.

They called him “The Doctor”.  Based in Bangkok, for years hunted a man “revered among Bangkok’s criminal underworld for producing the most sophisticated forged travel documents on the market for just $2,000-$3,000” (see article here for more information). 

Hidden in a secret compartment were 173 passports from France, Israel, New Zealand, Iran and Syria, and a cache of electronic chips, moulds for visa stamps, ribbons, inks and specialist printing equipment.

Therefore the Notary will take care to identify the person appearing before her or him, by asking for several forms of identification, and scrutinising documents in great detail, even to the point of using a magnifying glass or UV light.  One flaw to look for is a slight shadow at the edge of the photograph, which will not be there on a valid passport.

In Australia documents establishing identity for notarial purposes have been attributed points, with Passports, Citizenship Certificates, and Firearm Licences at the higher end 70 points, Rates Notices and Utility Accounts at 20 points, and Motoring Association Cards and Taxation Assessment Notices at 10 points.

Ken Lord at Parry Field Lawyers is a Notary Public and would be delighted to assist with your witnessing requirements.