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Change your child's name

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 their name without their consent.

Overview

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

  • they are 17 or under, and
  • they were born here, they are a New Zealand citizen, or they are entitled to live here indefinitely.

Usually, all the child’s parents or legal guardians need to sign the statutory declaration section of the form to change the child’s name — even if the parents are not together.

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

If all parents or guardians cannot sign

If a parent or legal guardian is not able to sign the statutory declaration section of the form, you need to explain why. You also need to provide evidence if they are:

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

Sometimes the Family Court will allow 1 guardian to act alone to change a child’s name. In this case, include copies of the original papers issued by the court with your application. Do not post or courier original documents.

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 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.

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

  • offensive
  • longer than 100 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).

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

Complete the form

Application to register a name change within 2 years of birth BDM 36 (PDF 477KB)

Cost

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
  • 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 and payment

By post

You can post or courier your application to Wellington, Sydney or London.

In person

You can book an appointment in Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch.

Births, Deaths and Marriages offices

How to apply if your child is 2 to 17 or was born outside NZ

You must provide 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 must also provide documents that show when and where they were born, and that they are a New Zealand citizen or entitled to live here indefinitely.

If your child is 16 or 17

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

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

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 each original photo ID.

Your witness must sign the statutory declaration section of the form to confirm they have sighted each original photo ID. They must also certify each photo ID.

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 552KB)

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)

Documents you need

Photo identification (ID)

All parents or guardians must provide a certified copy of 1 of the following:

  • 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
  • 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, contact Births, Deaths and Marriages:

Contact Births, Deaths and Marriages

Proof of your identity in the community

All parents and guardians must provide copies of 2 different documents that show their current name. These do not need to be certified or authorised.

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 your child was born outside New Zealand

You also need to provide evidence of:

  • the child’s legal parents or guardians
  • when and where the child was born, and
  • their citizenship or visa status — they must be a New Zealand citizen or entitled to live here indefinitely.

You can use a certified copy of any of the following, as long as it states your child’s name, date and place of birth, and the names of all parents or guardians:

  • New Zealand citizenship certificate and a birth certificate
  • New Zealand passport and a birth certificate
  • Australian passport (or other evidence of Australian citizenship) and a birth certificate
  • other passport with a valid residence permit / visa issued by Immigration New Zealand and a birth certificate
  • Cook Islands, Niue or Tokelau birth certificate
  • other birth certificate and 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 valid 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.

If you do not have official English translations, the DIA Translation Service can do this for you:

DIA Translation Service

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. 

Cost

It costs $170 to change your child’s 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

By post

You can post or courier your application to Wellington, Sydney or London.

In person

You can book an appointment 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 other forms of ID, like their driver licence, you may need evidence to show you have 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 outside NZ

You need to get a name change certificate to prove you have changed their name.

You can order a name change certificate:

  • on the name change form, or
  • after you have changed their name.

How to order a name change certificate

If they are on the HART Register

If your child was born as a result of a sperm or egg donation, you can update their name on the Human Assisted Reproductive Technology (HART) register at the same time as the name change.

Add or update your child's details on the HART Register

What happens next

Delays to some BDM services:

The Department of Internal Affairs currently has reduced staffing capacity due to COVID-19. There are processing delays to some Births, Deaths and Marriages (BDM) products and services.

Service timeframes

After you apply

If you ordered a new birth certificate or name change certificate for your child, this will be posted to you after about 3 weeks.

If you didn’t order a certificate, you will get a confirmation email.

Change your child’s name on their official ID

Your child’s name will not automatically be changed on their other documents — this is a separate process.

Get or renew a New Zealand passport

Change your name on your driver licence

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 your child’s information with places like Inland Revenue, their bank, RealMe, and KiwiSaver.

Utility links and page information

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