Registering Your Baby’s Birth

When you’ve been through months of pregnancy and the pains of labour to finally bring your new baby into this world, the last thing you want to think about is paperwork! However, it is a legal requirement that every baby born in New Zealand must be registered. This normally happens within two months of the birth.

Registering the birth of your baby

Unlike days gone by when registering baby’s birth meant a trip to the registration office, most babies born in New Zealand can now be registered online. The service is free. Both of the baby’s parents will complete the registration together.

If one of the parents is unknown, the registration can still be done online. However, if the other parent is deceased, missing, of unsound mind, unable to complete the form due to a medical condition, overseas with no contact details or is a danger to the child or other parent, a Notification of Birth for Registration form must be completed and sent to Birth Registrations Online, Births, Deaths and Marriages, PO Box 10526, Wellington 6143.

If you don’t want to name your baby’s other parent on the birth registration or you want to name them but don’t have their permission, check the Registering a new baby web page for information on how to proceed. There is also additional information for those who have used a sperm or egg donor, if the baby is being adopted or if the baby was stillborn or has died.

Giving your child their legal name

When you register the birth of your baby you are also giving them their legal name. The baby’s name must include a family name or surname along with one or more first names (unless your religious or cultural beliefs only allow for your baby to have one name).

The Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages may not accept the registration if the chosen name:

  • May cause offence to a reasonable person
  • Is unreasonably long (more than 100 characters, including spaces)
  • Includes or resembles an official title or rank without justification, eg King, Princess, Royal or Justice
  • Is not considered to be a name – for example, it must not consist of or include numbers or symbols, like # or @

Names known to have been rejected previously include Messiah, /, Royahl, Rogue, Justyce, Sarjant, Christ, V8, SexFruit and 4Real.

Remember that your child’s name will be exactly as it is entered on the registration form so be wary of any unintentional spelling mistakes!

If you need help in choosing a name, the Kidspot Baby Name Finder features over 30,000 names along with their meaning and origins.

Applying for a birth certificate

When you register your baby’s birth, you also have the opportunity to apply for a birth certificate and/or IRD number, though this can also be done at a later time.

A birth certificate costs $33.00 for a standard birth certificate or $55.00 for a special pack which includes a decorative birth certificate as well as the standard one.

Applying for your child’s IRD number

You can also apply for an IRD number for your baby when registering the birth. You will need this to claim Working for Families payments or to open a bank account in their name.

  • Find out how to get an IRD number for your chid.

Best Start payments

When you register your child’s birth you can also apply for Best Start payments. Best Start payments are part of the Working for Families tax credits and usually start when paid parental leave finishes (if applicable).

  • Applies to all qualifying families with a child born on or after 1 July 2018
  • Paid to the principal caregiver (who must be 16 or older)
  • For NZ residents, Best Start payments are up to $60 per week until baby turns one
  • After baby’s first birthday, payments are income-tested (payments will reduce or stop if income is above a set level)
  • Payments can continue up to the child’s third birthday

For new residents or for more information, contact Inland Revenue.

More information

The SmartStart website also has information to help you access the right services for you and your baby.

The information contained herein is to the best of our knowledge correct at the time of publication. For the latest information, visit the NZ Government page, Registering a Baby and Getting a Birth Certificate.

her world julieWritten by Julie Scanlon

Julie is Editor for Kidspot NZ and our MVP. Her hobbies include laughing uncontrollably at her own jokes, annoying her family by asking questions about movie plots, and never taking anything too seriously. She speaks a little Spanish and a lot of Yorkshire. 

Favourite motto to live by: “It ain’t nothing but a thing”


  1. Alezandra 03/03/2019 at 11:49 pm

    I wondered about this. What would happen if a family doesn’t register the birth? Or neglect to after the prescribed period. But I guess what does it help if you do not register your baby’s birth? Especially with Best Start payments that could benefit the family.

  2. kymmage 03/03/2019 at 10:18 pm

    Online would have been good. I remember the first time I did the form I didn’t have to get my husband to sign at all. The second time around I did have to. I was also left alone with the forms and I did toy with the idea of giving both girls silly hidden middle names. Like Danger 😂

  3. felicity beets 02/03/2019 at 7:15 pm

    So much easier that it is online now. The smart start website also has lots of useful information, especially what financial assistance you may be entitled to.

  4. Bevik1971 27/02/2019 at 3:06 pm

    We hadn’t found out the sex of our last born by choice and had picked out a couple of names that could be used for either a boy or a girl. Once we saw it was a she we then decided on the name we thought was best for her 🙂 I was a wee bit late getting her birth certificate details etc to the IRD though and they stopped my payments haha. Not funny at the time but was my own fault, although we got it sorted pretty quickly 🙂

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