In New Zealand, private investigators (PIs) are licensed professionals who are authorised to conduct various types of investigations on behalf of individuals, businesses, and organisations.

What can a private investigator do for me?

The range of uses for a PI is huge. From commercial and fraud investigations, to trademarks and copyright, to asset investigations and infidelity (cheating partner) cases. From helping large organisations with complex issues through to helping individuals with very personal requests.

Put simply, we can help you find information. If there’s something you need to know, we will do our best to (legally) find it for you. We are in the information business. We’re here to find the truth.

When you think of it that way, the scope of a private investigator grows considerably. And that’s what we aim to do at iSolve. Think of us like Google expanded. Or like your own personal intelligence agency. When you’ve exhausted all other options, and just really need to know something, we’re here to help.

Because we have a wide network of other agencies and professionals that we work with, we can help with all sorts of cases. Many private investigators specialise in one or two areas, so we’ll be able to recommend exactly who we should get to work on it. We can quickly assemble a team for each specific scenario. Or, if it’s a particularly sensitive and personal case, we can keep it completely in-house, limiting it to one or two people.

Here are some examples of what a private investigator can do in NZ:

  1. Surveillance: PIs can conduct surveillance on individuals or groups of people to gather evidence of their activities or behavior. This may involve following a person, or using video equipment to capture their actions. They can also employ GPS trackers where it is legally allowed.
  2. Tracing (finding) someone: PIs can conduct online and physical enquiries to try and track someone down. This is a very common case for any PI in New Zealand.
  3. Background checks: PIs can conduct background checks on individuals to verify their identity, employment history, criminal records, financial records, assets and other relevant information.
  4. Corporate investigations: PIs can conduct investigations on behalf of businesses to uncover fraud, theft, embezzlement, or other types of misconduct by employees, competitors, or other entities.
  5. Family law investigations: PIs can assist in family law cases by investigating issues such as child custody disputes, child support, and infidelity.
  6. Process serving: PIs can serve legal documents such as court orders, subpoenas, and eviction notices to individuals or entities that are required to receive them.
  7. Security consulting: PIs can provide advice and guidance to individuals or businesses on how to improve their security measures, such as installing security cameras, alarms, or hiring security guards.

Are private investigators legal in NZ?

Yes. If it wasn’t legal we wouldn’t be doing it!

The private investigation industry really started in New Zealand in the 1980’s. Before then, there wasn’t much option for people to have a professional investigator look into things for them. Initially many PIs were attached to large security firms. From there, it grew into the industry it is now. Today the PI industry assists industry, government departments, and individuals with all sorts of investigative or procedural tasks.

If you’ve ever applied for your firearms license, you’ve probably spoken to a private investigator. You’ll also regularly come across PIs working on insurance cases or assisting various government departments with information gathering procedures. Much of this isn’t specifically investigative work but is simply helping these organisations ensure that information is gathered in a logical and correct manner.

Anyone wanting to do any work as a private investigator in NZ will require a licence. Private investigator and security licenses are regulated by the Private Security Personnel Licensing Authority or PSPLA. This is managed by the Ministry of Justice.

Having a licence means that you can legally undertake investigative work in NZ and charge clients for it.

Do private investigators have any special power or authority?

The short answer is no. P.I.s don’t have any more rights than an ordinary citizen. We can’t make arrests, get warrants, hack phones or (except in very specific circumstances) place tracking devices on vehicles.

However, we do have access to certain databases which make it easier for us to quickly collect information relevant to a case.

It’s important to note that there are legal limitations to what PIs can do in NZ. For example, they cannot hack into someone’s computer or phone without permission, break into a private residence or property, or engage in any activity that would violate an individual’s privacy or civil rights. PIs must adhere to the laws and regulations governing their profession, and any evidence they obtain must be obtained lawfully and ethically.