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Overview

Usually, both parents need to agree to change a child's name, even if they're not together. Once your child is 16, you can't change your child's name without their consent.

You can apply to change your child’s name if:

  • they're under 18, and
  • they were born here, they're a New Zealand citizen, or they're entitled to live here indefinitely.

All the child’s parents or legal guardians need to sign the official form to change the child’s name — even if the parents aren’t together.

If your child is 16 or 17, they need to agree to the name change and sign the form.

If all the parents or guardians can't sign the form

If a parent or legal guardian is not able to sign the form, you need to say why on your statutory declaration. You'll need to show evidence that they're:

  • missing and you've tried to find them
  • dead, or
  • of unsound mind or unable to act because of a medical condition.

Sometimes the Family Court might allow one guardian to act alone to change a child's name — in this case, include the original papers issued by the court with your application, or a certified copy of them.

What you can change your child’s name to

You can change all or part of your child’s name.

Their new name has to consist of one surname and one 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.

The new name might not be accepted if it’s:

  • offensive
  • longer than 100 characters, including spaces
  • an official title or rank, or resemble one (eg Justice, King, Prince or Princess, Royal) unless you can justify why your child should be allowed that name
  • spelled with numbers or symbols (eg V8).

How to apply — if your child is under 2 and was born in NZ

You do not need to provide any documents to change your child’s name.

Complete the form

Application to register a name change within 2 years of birth BDM 36 (PDF 418KB)

Pay the fee

It costs $55 to change your child’s name before their second birthday.

You can pay by:

  • Credit, debit or prepaid gift card (for example Prezzy card) — add your payment details to the form.
  • EFTPOS — only available when you visit an office in person.
  • Money order — only available if you are applying from overseas.

If you need an official record of the name change, you can also order a new birth certificate. This costs extra.

Get a record of your child’s name change

Post your form

Post your form, along with your payment, to:

New Zealand

Name change team
Births, Deaths and Marriages
Department of Internal Affairs
PO Box 10-526
Wellington 6143

Australia

Births, Deaths and Marriages
Department of Internal Affairs
GPO Box 365
Sydney
New South Wales 2001

UK

Births, Deaths and Marriages
Department of Internal Affairs
New Zealand House
80 Haymarket
London SW1Y4TQ

You can also change your child’s name in person in Auckland, Manukau, Wellington or Christchurch.

Births, Deaths and Marriages offices

How to apply — if your child is 2 to 18 or was born outside NZ

You’ll need certified copies of documents that prove the identity of all the child’s parents or legal guardians. If your child was born outside New Zealand, you’ll also need documents that show when and where they were born, and that they’re entitled to be in NZ indefinitely.

If your child is 16 or 17

If your child is 16 or 17, they need to agree to the name change and sign the form.

If they’re married, in a civil union or a de facto relationship, they can change their own name without your permission.

Complete the form

Name change by statutory declaration — of person aged under 18 who has not been married, in a civil union or de facto relationship BDM 122 (PDF 553KB)

Name change by statutory declaration — of person aged under 18 who has not been married, in a civil union or de facto relationship BDM 122 accessible alternative (TXT 37KB)

Get your documents together

1. Photo ID

All parents or guardians need a certified copy of their:

  • passport
  • 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, or
  • Kiwi Access card or overseas proof of age card.

You'll need to show your photo ID to the person who witnesses you signing the statutory declaration on the form. That person may be able to certify your documents at the same time.

2. Proof of your identity in the community

All parents and guardians need copies of two different documents that show their names. These could be:

  • utility account bill (e.g. gas, electricity, mobile phone)
  • bank statement
  • lease or tenancy agreement
  • rates notice
  • SuperGold card
  • Inland Revenue tax statement
  • electoral roll record
  • motor vehicle registration
  • student or tertiary identity card
  • educational certificate or school report
  • trade certificate
  • certificate of approval or licence issued by the Private Security Personnel Licensing Authority
  • Steps to Freedom form
  • confirmation of permit status from Immigration NZ.

If you do not have the documents you need, contact Births, Deaths and Marriages.

If your child was born outside New Zealand

You also need to provide evidence of:

  • who their legal parents or guardians are
  • when and where they were born
  • their citizenship or visa status (they must be a New Zealand citizen or entitled to live here indefinitely).

You can use a certified true copy of a:

  • New Zealand citizenship certificate and a birth certificate that includes the names of the parents
  • New Zealand passport and a birth certificate that includes the names of the parents
  • Australian passport (or other evidence of Australian citizenship) and a birth certificate that includes the names of the parents
  • Cook Islands, Niue or Tokelau birth certificate that includes the names of the parents
  • overseas passport including a residence permit or visa issued by Immigration New Zealand and includes the names of the parents
  • letter from Immigration New Zealand confirming indefinite residence status (make sure the letter states the child's name, date and place of birth and the names of the parents)
  • overseas birth certificate that includes the names of the parents, together with a letter, permit or visa from Immigration New Zealand confirming indefinite residence status
  • Chinese notarial certificate that includes the names of the parents, together with a letter, permit or visa from Immigration New Zealand confirming indefinite residence status, or
  • household census register from an Asian country that includes the names of the parents, together with a letter, permit or visa from Immigration New Zealand confirming indefinite residence status.

If any of your documents are not in English

You need to get any documents that are not in English translated.

There are 2 ways to get translations:

  1. The Department of Internal Affairs can translate the documents for you
  2. Include an authorised translation with your original documents. The translation has to be done by:
    • the government agency that issued the original document
    • an approved translator, or
    • a court in the country that issued the document. You’ll also have to have the translation authenticated by your NZ Embassy, High Commission or Consulate.

If you do not have the documents you need, contact Births, Deaths and Marriages.

Find an authorised person to sign the statutory declaration

All parents or guardians need to show their original photo ID to the person who takes the statutory declaration. Authorised people vary depending on the country you’re signing the form in — in New Zealand, the most common options are:

  • Justice of the Peace
  • Notary Public
  • Judge
  • Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages
  • High court lawyer.

Pay the fee

It costs $170.00 to change your child’s name.

You can pay by:

  • Credit, debit or prepaid gift card (e.g. Prezzy card) — add your payment details to the form.
  • EFTPOS — only available when you visit an office in person.
  • Money order — only available if you are applying from overseas.

If you need an official record of the name change, you can also order a:

  • new birth certificate (if they were born in New Zealand)
  • name change certificate (if they were born overseas).

These cost extra.

Get a record of your child’s name change

Post your form and documents

Post your form and documents, along with your payment, to:

New Zealand

Name change team
Births, Deaths and Marriages
Department of Internal Affairs
PO Box 10-526
Wellington 6143

Australia

Births, Deaths and Marriages
Department of Internal Affairs
GPO Box 365
Sydney
New South Wales 2001

UK

Births, Deaths and Marriages
Department of Internal Affairs
New Zealand House
80 Haymarket
London SW1Y4TQ

You can also change your child’s name in person in Auckland, Manukau, Wellington or Christchurch.

Births, Deaths and Marriages offices

Get a record of your child's name change

To change your child’s name on their other ID, like their passport, you need evidence to show you’ve officially changed their name.

If they were born in NZ

Order a new birth certificate to prove their name has changed. This will show their new name and all their previously registered names.

You can apply for a new birth certificate on the name change form or request one later.

Order a birth certificate

If they were born overseas

Use a name change certificate to prove their name has changed.

You can order a name change certificate on the name change form or request one later.

Order by phone

Most people can order a name change certificate by phone:

You can pay over the phone by credit or debit card.

Order online if you have a verified RealMe account

If you have a verified RealMe account (you’ve followed the steps on the site, and been to a PostShop and had your photo taken), you can order name change certificates online.

Births, Deaths and Marriages Online

What is RealMe?

Order by post

Name change certificate request BDM93N (PDF 238KB)

Name change certificate request BDM93N - accessible alternative (TXT 5.1KB)

You’ll need a referee to sign the form — they must be over 16, and have known you for at least 6 months or seen your official photo ID.

Post the form to:

Births, Deaths and Marriages
PO Box 10526
Wellington 6143
New Zealand

If your child is on the human assisted reproductive technology (HART) register

If your child was born as a result of a sperm or egg donation, you can choose to update their name on the HART register at the same time as the name change.

Finding a child or parent on the sperm and egg donor list

What happens next

If you’ve also requested a new birth certificate or name change certificate, this will be posted to you after about 3 weeks. Otherwise, you’ll be sent a confirmation email or letter.

Change your child’s name on their official ID

Your child’s name will not automatically be changed on their other documents, like their passport. If they have a passport, you’ll have to order a new one for them.

Get or renew a New Zealand passport

Tell people about your child’s name change

Government agencies and other organisations will not automatically be notified about your child’s change of name. It’s up to you to update their information with places like Inland Revenue, their bank and KiwiSaver.

Utility links and page information

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