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Changing your name when you get married

In New Zealand, you don’t usually have to do anything special if you want to change your name after you get married or have a civil union.

Name options after getting married

When you get married, you can:

  • keep your last name
  • take your husband, wife or partner’s last name
  • hyphenate or use a combination of both your last names with a space in between.

Example of combining names

If Alex Coleman married Jaime Eastwood, either or both people can use any of these combinations:

  • Coleman Eastwood
  • Coleman-Eastwood
  • Eastwood Coleman
  • Eastwood-Coleman.

How to change your name

If you want to change your last name, you do not usually have to complete any forms or go through a process.

When you get married, you’ll be sent a form to update your details on the electoral roll. Otherwise, you can just start using your new last name.

Different organisations have different rules for proving identification (ID), but you can usually use your marriage certificate if you need proof to show you’ve taken your partner’s last name.

You can choose to legally change your name — it’s up to you.

Change your own name

Travelling overseas with your new name

The name on your passport and tickets must be the same as your officially registered name.

If you legally change your name, you’ll need to:

  • update your passport
  • book tickets using your new name.

Changing your name on your passport

If you do not legally change your name, you’ll need to:

  • book tickets using your old name so the name on the ticket matches your passport.

Changing your name on your driver licence

You do not have to update your driver licence if you change your name when you get married, even if you legally change your name.

Changing your name on your driver licence

Using your birth surname

If you want to add your birth surname as a middle name, you need to officially change your name by statutory declaration.

Change your own name

If you want to go back to using your birth surname, you usually do not need to apply for a name change — you can just start using your old name.

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