Sometimes the trigger for changing a name is ensuring all the family, including the children, end up with the same last name. For some people they get around this by giving their children both parent’s surnames (either hyphenated or not) or by having one surname as a middle name and another as the surname. This is something for the bride and groom to consider in the early stages. But first there’s the subject of the parents’ surnames. History dictated women took the man’s surname, but these days anything goes. After all, New Zealand was the first country to ensure women got to vote.

Some people may have strong opinions, but ultimately it’s a decision you both have to make.

In New Zealand, you don’t usually have to do anything special if you want to change your name after you get married or have a civil union. When you get married, you can: Keep your last name, take your husband, wife or partner’s last name or hyphenate or use a combination of both your last names. If you want to change your last name, you don’t usually have to complete any forms. However, you will have to change other legal signing authority, such as with banks. When you get married, you’ll be sent a form to update your details on the electoral roll. Otherwise, you can just start using your new last name. Different organisations have different rules for proving ID, but you can usually use your marriage certificate if you need proof to show you’ve taken your partner’s last name.
If you want to add your maiden name as a middle name, you need to officially change your name by statutory declaration.