Tuesday, May 28, 2024

What’s in a name change?

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Kiwis who were born outside New Zealand need some extra documents if they wish to legally change their name. File photo

In New Zealand, you can formally change your name if:

  • You are at least 18 years old (or aged 16 or 17 and are married, in a civil union, or a de facto relationship) and;
  • You are a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident.
    You do this by applying to the Births, Deaths and Marriages.

It costs around $170 to change your name (or around $55 for a child under two years).

You need to provide a certified copy of photo ID and copies of two documents that show your current name (for example, bank statement, tenancy agreement) and other proof of your identity with your application.

If you were born outside New Zealand, or your documents are not in English you will need some extra documents.

It takes around 30 working days to process your application.

There is no list of banned names in New Zealand; however the registrar-general of Births, Deaths and Marriages has the authority to decline a name that does not meet the criteria under the Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Act 1995.

Your name (or the name you give your child) has to include a surname and one or more other names.

If there is a religious, philosophical or cultural reason why you only want to have one name you have to explain this in a letter and provide this with your application.

A name might be declined if it is:

  • Offensive to a reasonable person
  • Longer than 100 characters, including spaces
  • An official title or rank, or resemble one unless you can justify why you should be allowed that name
  • Spelled with numbers or symbols

If a name you want to give yourself or your child is rejected by the registrar-general you can ask them to review their decision, giving them your reasons for choosing it.

  • This Solutions Column has been compiled by Vani and is a regular Times editorial from the Pakuranga Citizens Advice Bureau.
  • Email enquiries.pakuranga@cab.org.nz or visit us at the Library Building, Pakuranga, Phone 576 8331 and at Botany Citizens Advice Bureau, rear Food Court entrance, Botany Town Centre, Phone 271 5382 or 0800 367 222 for free, confidential and informative help.

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