Adoption information

Information about birth parents

Adult Adoption Information Act 1985, ss 3–6, 11

If you were adopted under a closed adoption and you want to know who your birth parents are, you will need your original birth certificate. You need to apply in writing to the Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages for your original birth certificate, and the Registrar-General has to give it to you.

If you were adopted before 1 March 1986 it’s possible for your birth parents to at any time “endorse” the birth certificate so that you can’t see their details. This endorsement can last for 10 years, and can be renewed.

Your doctor can apply to see medical information about your birth parents, whether or not there is an endorsement. This is done through a social worker. The doctor should not find out the identity of the parent.

Information about adopted child

Adult Adoption Information Act 1985, ss 7, 8

A birth parent can apply to the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) for information about the child they adopted out. MSD will try to contact the adopted person and won’t communicate the adopted person’s details to their birth parents unless the adopted person agrees to this.

Once an adopted person is 19 or older they can “endorse” their original birth certificate to say that they don’t want contact with either or both of their birth parents. An endorsement lasts 10 years, and can be renewed.

Next Section | Surrogacy and adoption

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Parents, guardians and caregivers

Where to go for more support

Community Law

Your local Community Law Centre can provide initial free legal advice and information.

Oranga Tamariki / Ministry for Children

Phone: 0508 FAMILY (0508 326 459)

This web page has information about the adoption process.

Family Court

The Family Court website includes information on the topics in this chapter.

Family Court fee waiver forms

Department of Internal Affairs

This DIA webpage has information on how to obtain original birth certificates for adopted children.

Parents can now register their baby’s birth online at:

“What happens to your children when you part?” (pamphlet)
Phone: (04) 472 7837

This New Zealand Law Society pamphlet covers guardianship, care of and contact with children, how disputes are resolved, and other child-focused issues. Access the pamphlet online or order hardcopies from the New Zealand Law Society.

Inland Revenue

Phone: 0800 221 221

Inland Revenue’s Child Support webpage has a wide range of forms and guides for parents and caregivers.

Alternative dispute resolution – Resolution Institute is a community of mediators, arbitrators, adjudicators, restorative justice practitioners and other DR professionals. – AMINZ (Arbitrators and Mediators Institute of New Zealand).

There are many kinds of “alternative dispute resolution” that, depending on your personal situation, may be cheaper and more successful than going to the Family Court. These include counselling, mediation and negotiation. You can find out more at the above websites

Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Supervised Contact Services

The ANZASCS website has information about organisations that are approved as providers of supervised contact services.

“Pregnancy Rights: Your legal options before and after pregnancy” booklet

This booklet contains practical answers to questions about pregnancy and the law, and includes information on sexual health and consent, options after a positive pregnancy test, healthcare, education, housing and more.

Order hard copies from:
Community Law Wellington and Hutt Valley
Phone: (04) 499 2928

Email: or visit to buy a copy or access free online.

Also available as a book

The Community Law Manual

The Manual contains over 1000 pages of easy-to-read legal info and comprehensive answers to common legal questions. From ACC to family law, health & disability, jobs, benefits & flats, Tāonga Māori, immigration and refugee law and much more, the Manual covers just about every area of community and personal life.

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