The Department of Internal Affairs

The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Services › Births Deaths and Marriages › Finding Family History Records

Birth, Death, Marriage, Civil Union and Name Change records

The records held by the Births, Deaths and Marriages may be used to research family history. We hold information about all New Zealand birth, death, marriage, civil union and name change records. Some date as far back as 1848.

Birth RegistrationsFrom 1848
Death RegistrationsFrom 1848
Marriage RegistrationsFrom 1843
Civil Union RegistrationsFrom 26 April 2005
Name Change RegistrationsFrom 25 January 2009

Searches of the records

You may request that we conduct the search of birth, death, marriage, civil union or name change records. In this case you will need to know:
  • The full name of the person about whom you want information (or both people if it is a marriage or civil union, ensuring to quote each party's surnames at birth or at the time of a previous marriage or civil union surname).
  • The type of event (i.e. birth, death, marriage, civil union or name change);
  • The date, year, or period of years to search for that event (for name changes, this is the person’s date of birth);
  • The place where the event happened (for name changes, this is the person’s place of birth);
  • Any further information you know that might help us to identify the correct record (e.g. parents’ names).
We will accept either the bride's or the groom's name only in the case where the marriage year/folio number is provided – also where folio number is provided, the place the marriage occurred is optional.

It is important the information you provide with your request is as accurate as possible. It may be an idea to ask other family members for information before making your request. For all other records if you have the folio number, only the First/Given Names and Surname are required when making your request.
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Printout of records

If your search on the microfiche (a sheet of film available at some libraries that lists registered life events in New Zealand, usually up to 1990) is successful, you may wish to purchase a printout, which usually contains more information than a certificate. A printout costs NZ$26.50 if the event took place from 1848 to 1874, or NZ$20.40 if the event took place after 1874. Search fees are payable for extended searches.

If we cannot locate the record with the information provided, we still start charging you search fees. Prior to contacting you, we will have searched a 3-year period and a fee of $15.30 will have been charged.

For example, if the year you quote is 1992 we undertake a search for the year given plus a year either side. If we cannot find the event in those years we will contact you to ask if you would like us to search additional years at NZ$1.00 for each additional year. If you agree and request us to search 1994 and 1995 then we will charge you an extra NZ$2.00:
  • If we find the event in 1995 and you wish to have a printout then the total fee for the printout is NZ$37.70 (NZ$20.40 plus the NZ$17.30 search cost); or
  • If we cannot find the event the total fee will be NZ$17.30 (NZ$15.30 plus NZ$2.00 search cost) and you will not receive a printout. However, you can request more years to be searched or we can refund the amount remaining to you.

Historical records defined

Record type



  • A birth that occurred 100 years ago or more (subject to restrictions on pre-adoptive/ pre-sex-change information), or
  • A still-birth that occurred 50 years ago or more.

Name Change

  • A name change for a person whose birth is registered outside New Zealand and who was born 100 years ago or more. Note that this only applies to name changes registered on or after 25 January 2009.


  • Where the death occurred 50 years ago or more, or
  • The deceased person's date of birth was 80 years ago or more.


  • A marriage that occurred 80 years ago or more.

Civil Union

  • A civil union that occurred 80 years ago or more. Note that the first civil union was solemnised on 29 April 2005.
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How to apply

If you wish to apply for a certificate or printout you can find further information through:

Non-disclosure direction

A non-disclosure direction may be placed on a person’s records if the person, or his or her personal representative (e.g. person’s parents or other person authorised in writing), reasonably believes that disclosure of the registered information, or any part of the registered information, would be prejudicial to the personal safety of that person or his or her family. A non-disclosure direction expires after 5 years unless it is reinstated or withdrawn.

If a non-disclosure direction is in place on a person’s record(s), generally only the person who is the subject of the information (or a parent if the person is under 18), or any other person authorised by the subject of the information may request a certificate or printout of that record. If any other person attempts to access registered information when a non-disclosure direction is in place he or she will be advised that the information exists but that the information cannot be provided.

Please contact us for further information.

More information about family history research

For further information see New Zealand Genealogical Links (
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