22 January 2019
45 Pipitea Street Wel ington, 6011
Phone +64 4 495 7200
Fax +64 4 382 3589
Email [email address]
Official Information Act 1982 (OIA) request OIA 18/19-0369
Thank you for your request under the Official Information Act received by the Department
of Internal Affairs (Department) on 2 December 2018.
In a letter sent to you from the Deputy Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages,
the Deputy Registrar-General stated that "the Registrar-General may change the sex on a
person's New Zealand birth record to indeterminate if the sex was indeterminate at the
time of birth and was incorrectly recorded as female or male. [. .] To make a correction of
this nature the [Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Act 1995] Act
requires the Registrar-General to make inquiries into whether the person's sex was
recorded incorrectly at birth. This requires sufficient evidence to be provided to the
Registrar-General establishing that the time the person's birth was registered their sex was
incorrectly recorded at birth as female or male rather than indeterminate."
You requested Could you please specify what is classed as 'sufficient evidence' in this context?
Error of Fact
Any person may request that the Registrar General correct information held on any Birth,
Death and Marriage registers under Section 84 of the Births, Deaths, Marriages, and
Relationships Registration Act 1995 (Act) should they believe there is an error of fact.
Section 84 of the Act al ows the Registrar General to correct a record should he be satisfied
that the Department has made a clerical error, or the record has been recorded correctly as
per the information provided at the time of registration, but there is sufficient evidence to
support that the information was incorrectly provided to the Department.
To amend a record shown to be registered with incorrect information, the Registrar-General
must be in possession of sufficient evidence that clearly supports the claim that incorrect
information was provided at the time of registration.
All requests received by the Registrar-General are considered on a case-by-case basis. The
level of sufficient evidence is relevant to each request and therefore cannot be
Where a request is made to amend the sex on your birth record from ‘female’ to
‘indeterminate’, the following applies. As ‘sex’ is provided to the Department on the birth
registration (completed by the parents) and the birth notice (provided by the hospital), the
Registrar-General must be satisfied that the information provided on both forms was
incorrect. Registration of a birth only occurs when the two documents match.
Sufficient evidence in such situations may include, but is not limited to: amended copies of
hospital records confirming that the sex was recorded incorrectly at the time of birth, and
written evidence from a doctor confirming that a medical examination has been undertaken
which supports the amendment of the recorded sex.
Based on communications with you, the Department considers that a change of hospital
records and the issuance of a new birth notice, or statement regarding the incorrect
information recorded on the original birth notice may be sufficient evidence to support the
amendment of your birth record. It is understood that you have been in touch with the Bay
of Plenty District Health Board (BOPDHB) and that they have confirmed that your original
files have been destroyed and therefore cannot be reviewed. It is noted however that they
have provided information on what would be required for them to write a statement
supporting your request in lieu of the original files. You may wish to consider discussing this
matter further with the BOPDHB in order to obtain a written statement supporting the
amendment of your registered sex.
Please note that all evidence must confirm that the error was made at the time of your
At this time, the Registrar-General is not satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to support
claims that your sex was recorded incorrectly at the time of your birth.
There are further steps you may wish to consider should you disagree with the Registrar-
General’s assessment of your request.
1. You may contact the Wellington Family Court seeking an order under Section 85 of
the Act. Section 85 of the Act allows the Family Court to consider proposed
corrections on cases of difficulty or dispute, and rule either in the favour of the
requester or the Registrar-General. If the Family Court believes you have sufficient
evidence to show that the record is in fact incorrect, they may order the Registrar-
General to amend the record.
2. The Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Bill is currently
awaiting its second reading before the House which if passed into law, will allow for
a person to make a request to the Department to change their registered sex
without the need to obtain a court order. The changes wil al ow a person to seek to
be recorded as ‘Male’, ‘Female’, ‘Intersex’, or ‘X (unspecified)’. Please note that
‘Indeterminate’ is not an option within the Bill. A change of sex marker to
‘indeterminate’ will still require sufficient evidence that an error has been made, or
an appropriate court order.
If you have any further questions regarding birth records or wish to obtain more information
on your possible next steps, please do not hesitate to contact Adrian Jarvis, Deputy
Registrar-General at [email address].
You have the right to seek an investigation and review by the Ombudsman of this decision.
Information about how to make a complaint is available at www.ombudsman.parliament.nz
or freephone 0800 802 602.
Manager Branch Development and Support
Service Delivery and Operations