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Birth Certificates and Adoption

Click here for Maori language version

(Statement on the use of macrons)

When a person has been legally adopted, the birth certificate that we normally issue is the post-adoptive birth certificate, showing the details of the adoptive parents.

If you are adopted, you may wish to apply for a copy of your original, pre-adoptive birth certificate, showing the details of your birth before you were adopted.

Under New Zealand law, you can do this once you turn 20, by writing to Central Registry, PO Box 10-526, Wellington, New Zealand. You will need to supply:
  • Your full name (post-adoptive)
  • Your place of birth
  • Your date of birth
  • The full name(s) of your adoptive parent(s)
  • Your address and telephone number
  • Your signature
  • Payment for the certificate of NZ$15.00 (includes postage anywhere in the world)

If you live in New Zealand and details of one or both of your birth parents appear on the original birth certificate, you will be sent a list of counsellors. New Zealand law requires that you choose a counsellor from that list and tell the Registrar-General who you have chosen. (You may name a counsellor in your application letter; this will reduce the processing time.) The Registrar-General will then send your birth certificate to that counsellor. The counsellor will contact you and arrange for you to receive the birth certificate.

The role of the counsellor is to give you information, assistance and support. The counsellor cannot withhold information you are legally entitled to, but may be able to give you helpful advice about how to search for and contact your birth parent(s).

If you live outside New Zealand, your certificate will be sent to you with a note giving the address of the Director-General of Social Welfare, to contact if you have any questions.

Vetoes
Access to information on pre-adoptive birth registrations can be restricted by a veto in certain circumstances:
  • If you are adopted and you do not wish to have your birth parents contact you, once you are 19 years old you can write to the Registrar-General at Central Registry stating that you do not want information which would identify you to be released by the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services. You must indicate to the Registrar-General whether or not you desire counselling.
  • If you are a birth parent of a child who was adopted before 1 March 1986 you may write to the Registrar-General at Central Registry to prevent the release of information about yourself contained in the child's original birth registration. Birth parents of a child adopted after 1 March 1986 do not have the right to place a veto on information. You must indicate to the Registrar-General whether or not you desire counselling.
A veto remains in place for 10 years, but can be removed or renewed for an additional 10 years at any time.

For more information on vetoes, please contact:

The Department of Child, Youth and Family Services
www.cyf.govt.nz
Private Bag 6901
Te Aro
Wellington
Phone: (04) 917-1100
Fax: (04) 917-1101

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Last updated: 29/10/2003