Change your own name
You can change your own name in New Zealand if you’re 18 or over and a citizen or entitled to live here indefinitely. If you're 16 or 17, you can apply with your guardians' consent.
You can apply to change your name if:
- you’re 18 or over, or
- you're 16 or 17 and have consent from all your guardians, and
- you were born here, you’re a New Zealand citizen, or you’re entitled to live here indefinitely.
You do not usually need to apply for a name change if you’ve taken your partner’s surname after marriage or a civil union, or if you want to use your birth surname or maiden name again after a divorce.
If you’re 16 or 17
If you’re married, in a civil union or a de facto relationship, you can change your name without your parents’ permission. Otherwise, each of your parents or guardians have to provide written consent when you apply.
What you can change your name to
You can change all or part of your name.
Your new name has to consist of 1 surname and 1 or more other names. If you have religious, philosophical or cultural reasons to have only one name, you need to include a letter of explanation with your application.
Your new name might not be accepted if it’s:
- longer than 70 characters, including spaces
- an official title or rank, or resembles one (for example, Justice, King, Prince, Princess, Royal)
- spelled with numbers or symbols (for example, V8).
Update the sex on your birth certificate
If you also want to update the sex marker on your New Zealand birth certificate, this is a different process to just changing your name. You can apply to change both using the same form.
Find out more and apply:
Documents you need
Photo identification (ID)
You must provide a certified copy of 1 of the following:
- driver licence
- firearms or dealer’s licence
- defence force or police service photo identity card
- NZ emergency travel document
- NZ certificate of identity (issued under the Passports Act 1992 or the Immigration Act 2009)
- NZ refugee travel document
- Kiwi Access Card or overseas proof of age card.
A certified copy is a photocopy that has been stamped or endorsed by a witness (for example, a Justice of the Peace) who confirms that the copy is a true copy of the original document.
If you do not have a photo ID, you must complete an identity referee declaration form:
Proof of your identity in the community
You must provide copies of 2 different documents that show either your birth name, married name or new name. These do not need to be certified. Accepted documents include:
- bank statement
- utility bill (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.
If you were born outside New Zealand
You also need to provide evidence of:
- when and where you were born, and
- your citizenship or resident status (you must be a New Zealand citizen or entitled to live here indefinitely).
You must provide a certified copy of any 1 of the following, as long as it states your name, date and place of birth:
- New Zealand citizenship certificate
- New Zealand passport
- New Zealand certificate of identity or refugee travel document issued under the Passports Act 1992, with a letter or valid resident permit / visa from Immigration New Zealand confirming resident status
- letter from Immigration New Zealand confirming resident status
- Australian passport
- other passport with a valid residence permit / visa issued by Immigration New Zealand
- other passport with a valid Australian permanent resident permit / visa
- Cook Islands, Niue or Tokelau birth certificate
- other birth certificate with a letter or valid resident permit / visa from Immigration New Zealand confirming resident status
- Chinese notarial certificate and a letter or valid resident permit / visa from Immigration New Zealand confirming resident status
- household census register from an Asian country and a letter or resident permit / visa from Immigration New Zealand confirming resident status.
If any of your documents are not in English
You need to get any documents that are not in English translated.
If you already have official English translations, provide these with your original documents.
Getting your documents translated
If you do not have official English translations, the DIA Translation Service can do this for you.
You may also get your documents translated by:
- the government agency that issued the original document
- an approved translator, or
- a court in the country that issued the document.
If your translations are not acceptable, the Births, Deaths and Marriages Office will contact you.
How to apply
Complete the form
In front of an authorised witness (for example, a Justice of the Peace), you must:
- sign the statutory declaration section of the application form to declare what you have said is true, and
- show them your original photo ID.
Your witness must sign the statutory declaration section of the form to confirm they have sighted your original photo ID. They must also certify your photo ID and documents.
- Application to register a name change BDM 120 (PDF 424KB)
- Application to register a name change aged 16 and 17 BDM 121 (PDF 405KB)
It costs $170 to change your name.
You can pay by:
- credit, debit or prepaid gift card — for example, Prezzy® Card
- EFTPOS — only available when you visit an office in person
- foreign draft — only available if you apply at the Sydney or London office.
Submit your form, documents and payment
You can post or courier your application to Wellington, Sydney or London.
You can book an appointment in Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch.
Get a record of your name change
To change your name on other forms of ID, like your driver licence, you may need evidence to show you have officially changed your name.
If you were born in NZ
Order a new birth certificate to prove you have changed your name. This will show your new name and all your previously registered names.
You can apply for a new birth certificate on the name change form, or request one later.
If you were born outside NZ
You need to get a name change certificate to prove you have changed your name.
You can order a name change certificate:
- on the name change form, or
- after you have changed your name.
If you got married in NZ
If you got married or had a civil union in New Zealand and you want to update your name on your marriage or civil union certificate, you can do this on your name change form.
- $55 to update your name on your marriage or civil union record, and
- $33 if you also want a new copy of your marriage certificate.
If you’re on the human assisted reproductive technology (HART) register
If you’re a sperm or egg donor, or you were born as a result of a donation, you can choose to update your name on the HART register at the same time as your name change.
What happens next
After you apply
If you ordered a new birth certificate or name change certificate, this will be posted to you.
If you did not order a certificate, you will get a confirmation email.
Check this page for regularly updated timeframes:
Change your name on your official IDs
Your name will not automatically be changed on your other documents — this is a separate process.
Tell people about your name change
Births, Deaths and Marriages will let the Electoral Commission know about your change of name, but other government agencies and other organisations will not automatically be notified. It’s up to you to update your information with places like Inland Revenue, your bank and RealMe.