The Law on Naming a Baby in New Zealand (Level 3)

Written by Samantha
Description: An article about the law on naming a baby in New Zealand
Instructions: Read the sentences below and answer the questions or fill in the spaces

Giving a name to a child provides his identity and represents his cultural heritage. A name can make or break a child’s self-esteem. Having a name gives the child the ability to enrol into a school and apply for a passport. In many countries, parents or caregivers are given up to two or three months to name their child. Naming a baby is the parents’ or caregivers’ responsibility to instil his sense of self and self-esteem the moment he is born.
Parents have the right to pick and choose a name for their baby. Some parents choose to name their child after a friend, relative, ancestor or godparent. And some choose to name their child after a special event or a season. However, a Births, Death and Marriage Registration Act registrar can refuse to register a name if the name is offensive, too long and contains symbols such as a question mark. The registrar also can refuse to register a name that contains an official title or rank such as Sir, Lady and King. A registrar can reject a name that can harm a child’s self-esteem such as a name after a notorious war criminal. Some countries such as France and Germany have a list of approved names to bar parents from giving names that would negatively affect a child.
However, if the parents have passed the two or three-month frame without naming their child, social services and the court would intervene to ensure the baby gets a name. The parents would end up with a fine and a warning. The reason social services and the court would intervene in naming a nameless baby is to ensure the child not only gets an identity but also to prevent possible neglect or abuse from happening.