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Name Changes in New Zealand

December 5, 2022

Changing Name New Zealand

New Zealand residents who wish to legally change their name must apply through a Births, Deaths, and Marriages registry. Here is everything you need to know about changing your name in New Zealand and the required documentation. 

Qualifications to Change Name in New Zealand

In New Zealand, you are allowed to change your entire name or only a part of it, as long as your new name consists of one surname and at least one other name.

Requirements for changing your name

To legally change your name in New Zealand, you must meet these simple requirements:

  • You must be over the age of 18
  • You must be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident.

Note that you are also allowed to change your name if you are aged 16 or 17 and married or in a civil union.

Exceptions to registering a name change

You are not required to register a new surname you adopted through marriage or civil union. In this case, your new name will be recognised using other evidence, such as your marriage certificate. 

Similarly, there is no need to register a name change if you revert to using your birth surname.

Restrictions on changing names

In the following cases, your new name might not be accepted:

  • It is offensive
  • It is longer than 100 characters including spaces
  • It resembles an official title, such as Justice, King, Prince, or Royal
  • It includes numbers and symbols.

If your religious or philosophical beliefs, or cultural traditions require you to only have one name or if your new name resembles a title or includes more than 100 characters, you will be asked to attach a letter of explanation to your application.

Documents You Need

When applying to change your name in New Zealand, you must provide several documents, including a photo ID and two proofs of your identity in the community. 

Photo identification

Accepted photo identification documents include: 

  • Passport
  • New Zealand emergency travel document
  • New Zealand refugee travel document
  • New Zealand certificate of identity 
  • Driver licence
  • Firearms or dealer’s licence
  • Defence force or police service photo ID
  • Kiwi Access Card or overseas proof of age card.

Your photo ID must be a certified true copy. This means that it must be stamped or endorsed by an authorised person, such as a solicitor/lawyer, notary public, registrar of the court, or Justice of the Peace.

If you were born outside New Zealand

If you were born in another country, you need to obtain documentation indicating the date and place of your birth. In addition, you must show proof that you are currently a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident.

If your documents are not issued in English, they have to be translated by an approved translator.

Proof of your identity in the community

In addition to your proof of identity, you are required to attach copies of two documents that show your current name, such as: 

  • Bank statement
  • Utility bills, for example, gas, electricity, mobile phone
  • Lease or tenancy agreement
  • Motor vehicle registration
  • Rates notice
  • IRD tax statement
  • SuperGold Card
  • Student or tertiary identity card
  • Educational certificate or school report
  • Trade certificate
  • Electoral roll record
  • Certificate of approval or licence issued by the Private Security Personnel Licensing Authority
  • Steps to Freedom grant confirmation letter
  • Immigration New Zealand confirmation of visa/permit status.

The above documents do not need to be certified or authorised. 

Once you have all the required documentation ready, you can start the application process. Read on to learn more about each step.

How to Apply

To change your name in New Zealand, you must apply at one of the Births, Deaths and Marriages (BDM) registries. 

The application process consists of the following steps: 

  • Fill out the application form
  • Sign the statutory declaration
  • Pay the registration fee
  • Submit the form.

Fill out the application form

The first part of the application is completing the online application form. You will be asked to include the following details:

  • Your old name as indicated on your birth certificate (first name, middle names, surname)
  • If you were adopted, names you were given on adoption
  • Names from your previous name change, if applicable
  • Your new name
  • Date and place of birth
  • Contact information.

In addition, you must also confirm that you are either already using your new name or intend to use it in the future. You can then print and sign the form. 

Online application form

Application form BDM 120 to register a name change can be found here

For the accessible alternative click here

For more information on how to apply for a name change, click here

Sign the statutory declaration

A statutory declaration is a part of the application form. It refers to a written statement signed in front of an authorised person and declared to be true. 

You must present your current photo identification to the person authorised to take a statutory declaration and sign the declaration in front of them. The person who witnessed you sign the document must confirm they have seen your original photo ID and attachments and sign the form. 

Who is authorised to take a statutory declaration

The exact statutory declaration requirements depend on whether you are making the declaration in New Zealand, another Commonwealth country, or a non-Commonwealth country.

In New Zealand: 

  • Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages
  • Justice of the Peace
  • Registrar or a deputy registrar of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, High Court or a District Court
  • A person enrolled as a barrister and solicitor of the High Court
  • Any other person authorised by law to administer an oath
  • Member of the house of the Parliament of the Commonwealth elected to represent the Territory or a constituency in the Territory
  • Member of the police force who is 18 years or older

In a Commonwealth country other than New Zealand:

  • Commonwealth representative
  • Notary Public
  • Judge
  • Justice of the Peace
  • Commissioner of Oaths
  • Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand
  • A person authorised by law to administer an oath for the purpose of a judicial proceeding

In a non-Commonwealth country: 

  • Commonwealth representative
  • Notary public
  • Judge
  • Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand.

How Much Does It Cost to Change Your Name in New Zealand

The application fee to register a name change in New Zealand is $170.

You will need to pay additional fees of between $33 and $50 per document if you wish to order any of the following: 

  • Birth certificate with your new name
  • A name change certificate, if your birth is registered outside New Zealand
  • A marriage or civil union certificate with your new name, if your marriage is registered in New Zealand.

Delivery is free of charge, unless you want to have documents couriered to a New Zealand or overseas address.

How to pay

There are several ways to pay the application fee:

  • Credit, debit, or prepaid gift card, such as Prezzy® Card
  • EFTPOS (available when you visit an office in person)
  • Foreign draft (available if you apply at the Sydney or London office).

Submit Your Form, Documents, and Payment

Once you have completed, signed, and paid for your application, you are ready to submit the form. There are two ways to do this: by mail or in person.

By mail

You can post or courier your application to one the following addresses:

New Zealand office

Name Change Team

BDM

Dept. of Internal Affairs

PO Box 10-526

Wellington 6140

New Zealand

Sydney office

BDM

Dept. of Internal Affairs

GPO Box 365

Sydney

New South Wales 2001

Australia

London office

BDM

Dept. of Internal Affairs

New Zealand House

80 Haymarket

London SW1Y 4TQ

United Kingdom

In person

If you prefer to submit your application in person, you need to book an appointment at the BDM office in Auckland, Wellington, or Christchurch. Make sure to take your application, all necessary documentation, and payment with you.

Auckland

Carlaw Park

12–14 Nicholls Lane

Parnell

Auckland 1010

Phone: +64 9 339 0852

Wellington

Level 2

7 Waterloo Quay

Pipitea

Wellington 6011

Phone: +64 9 339 0852

Christchurch

Level 1

BNZ Centre

120 Hereford Street

Christchurch 8011

Phone: +64 9 339 0852

Processing times

The processing time for a name change in New Zealand is around 3 months (excluding delivery times). 

How Do I Change My Name?

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