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Individual rights & freedoms

Laws that affect queer people

Wiping convictions from before homosexual law reform

Criminal Records (Expungement of Convictions for Historical Homosexual Offences) Act 2018, ss 2, 15, 16, 23

Some sexual activity between men used to be against the law in New Zealand, along with related things like running a venue used for sex between men. This changed with the Homosexual Law Reform Act 1986, and those things are no longer illegal.

If you were convicted under the Homosexual Offences Act before the law changed in 1986, you can apply to have those convictions wiped, as if they never happened. However, you can’t get compensation for being convicted under the old law.

How do I get an old conviction wiped?

You can apply online on the Ministry of Justice website, here (or go to justice.govt.nz and search: “Wiping historical homosexual convictions”).

What’s the benefit of having the old conviction wiped?

Criminal Records (Expungement of Convictions for Historical Homosexual Offences) Act 2018, s 9

Once an old homosexual conviction has been wiped, you don’t have to tell anyone about the conviction. This includes if:

  • you are asked about the conviction under oath in court, or
  • a potential employer asks about your criminal record.

It also means that employers or others getting police checks on your record won’t be given any information about the conviction.

Can I apply for a conviction to be wiped for a family member who has passed away?

If a person who was convicted of one of these offences has passed away, other people can apply for the conviction to be wiped – like their partner or a family member or the executor of their will. If you don’t fit one of those categories, you can ask the Ministry of Justice to let you apply.

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Sex, gender and sexual orientation

Where to go for more support

Legal information and support groups

Community Law

Your local Community Law Centre can provide you with free initial legal advice.

Find your local Community Law Centre online: www.communitylaw.org.nz/our-law-centres

Access the free “Lag Law: Your Rights Inside Prison and on Release” book.  This book contains practical answers to common questions relating to prisoner rights, including transgender rights in prison. A useful guide for people going to prison, in prison, or getting out of prison and their whānau.

Online: www.communitylaw.org.nz/community-law-manual/prisoners-rights-chapter-1-before-prison-the-criminal-court-process/before-prison-the-criminal-court-process
Email for a hard copy: laglaw@wclc.org.nz
Phone: Community Law Wellington and Hutt Valley – 04 499 2928


InsideOUT is a national organisation that provides workshops, resources and support to help make schools, community organisations and workplaces inclusive for rainbow people.

Website:  www.insideout.org.nz
Email:  hello@insideout.org.nz
Phone:  027 331 4507
Instagram:  www.instagram.com/insideoutkoaro
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/insideoutkoaro

Gender Minorities Aotearoa

Gender Minorities Aotearoa is a nationwide organisation providing support and information to transgender people.

Website: www.genderminorities.com
Email: support@genderminorities.com
Phone: 04 385 0611

Naming New Zealand

Naming NZ is an organisation to help transgender, gender-diverse and intersex youth with updating their identity documents to correctly reflect their sex and gender.

Website: www.ry.org.nz/namingnz

Intersex Aotearoa

Intersex Aotearoa are an intersex-led education, lobbying, advocacy and peer support organisation in Aotearoa, welcoming all people with intersex variations in Aotearoa, whānau and friends.

Website: www.intersexaotearoa.org
Email: info@intersexaotearoa.org
Instagram: www.instagram.com/intersexyaotearoa
Facebook: www.facebook.com/intersexaotearoa


Genderbridge is a peer-to-peer transgender community organisation providing support to transgender and gender-diverse people, their whānau and friends throughout Aotearoa New Zealand.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/genderbridge


OutLine is a confidential, free, all-ages support line that provides rainbow specialist counselling and trans and non-binary peer support. Call for free from 6pm-9pm.

Website: www.outline.org.nz
Phone: 0800 688 5463
Instagram: www.instagram.com/OUTlineAotearoa
Facebook: www.facebook.com/outlineaotearoa

Rainbow Rights in Aotearoa

RainbowYOUTH and YouthLaw have collaborated to provide information about the various legal rights afforded to people living in Aotearoa, and how they relate to queer, intersex and gender diverse people.

Website: www.rainbowrights.nz

Rainbow Youth

RainbowYOUTH provides a number of services for queer and gender-diverse youth and their wider communities all across Aotearoa.

Website: www.ry.org.nz
Instagram: www.instagram.com/rainbowyouth
Facebook: www.facebook.com/rainbowyouth

Q Youth

Q Youth is a charity run by youth for youth in Nelson. Q Youth provides support, training and education to rainbow youth, friends, family and whānau.

Website: www.qyouthnz.com
Email: office.q.youth@gmail.com

Government departments, agencies and courts

Department of Internal Affairs

The Department of Internal Affairs processes applications to legally change your name.

Website: www.govt.nz/browse/passports-citizenship-and-identity/changing-your-name/change-your-own-name
Phone: 0800 22 52 52

NZ Transport Agency

The NZTA deals with changes to drivers’ licences, including changing your name or gender on your driver’s licence.

Website: www.nzta.govt.nz/driver-licences/renewing-replacing-and-updating/updating-your-licence
Phone: 0800 822 422

Te Whatu Ora/Health New Zealand

Te Whatu Ora has guidance for health professionals dealing with transgender people and information on gender affirming surgeries.

Website: www.tewhatuora.govt.nz/our-health-system/preventative-healthwellness/providing-health-services-for-transgender-people

Te Kāhui Tika Tangata/Human Rights Commission

See the Human Rights Commission website for information about human rights and discrimination in Aotearoa. It outlines how you can make a complaint to the Commission.

Website: www.tikatangata.org.nz or www.hrc.co.nz
Email: infoline@hrc.co.nz
Phone: 0800 496 877 (0800 4 YOUR RIGHTS)

To make a complaint online, download a complaint form or find out more about the complaints process: www.tikatangata.org.nz/resources-and-support/make-a-complaint 

Other resource of interest: “To be who I am: Report on the Inquiry into Discrimination Experienced by Transgender People”: www.tikatangata.org.nz/our-work/to-be-who-i-am-report-on-the-inquiry-into-discrimination-experienced-by-transgender-people

Nationwide Health & Disability Advocacy Service

The Nationwide Health & Disability Advocacy Service offers free, independent, and confidential advice to support you making a complaint about health and disability services.

Website: www.advocacy.org.nz
Email: advocacy@advocacy.org.nz
Phone: 0800 555 050

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE)

MBIE has some guidance for employers with transgender employees.

Website: www.employment.govt.nz/starting-employment/hiring/discrimination-when-hiring/transgender-employees

Department of Corrections

The Prisons Operations Manual Policy outlines the procedure for determining where to place transgender and intersex prisoners in prison (see Movements M.03.05).

Website: www.corrections.govt.nz/resources/policy_and_legislation/Prison-Operations-Manual/Movement/M.03-Specified-gender-and-age-movements/M.03.05-Transgender-prisoner

Also available as a book

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