View court adoption records

Some people can ask to see information about an adoption. Information is held in 3 places:

  • Most of the information is held by Child, Youth & Family (external link)
  • Births, Deaths & Marriages holds the original birth certificate (from before the adoption) and the post-adoption birth certificate. If you were born and adopted in New Zealand and you’re 20 years or older, you can apply for a copy of your original birth certificate. Go to the Births, Deaths & Marriages website (external link)
  • In special cases the courts can show you the court records about an adoption. You’ll usually need a Court Order to see them.

You usually need a Court Order to see court adoption records

You’ll need a Court Order to see and copy court adoption records in most cases. The court will only make the order when:

  • the records could help prosecute someone who has made a false statement
  • they could help answer questions about whether an Interim Order (a temporary Adoption Order) or Adoption Order is valid
  • there are any other special grounds.

Apply for a Court Order to see court adoption records

You’ll need to fill in the forms and file them or have your lawyer file them in your local court. Ask at your local court about how to apply as there are no set forms.

It’s free to apply to view court adoption records.

Find your local court

When you don’t need a Court Order

You don’t need a Court Order to see court adoption records if you are:

  • an executor, administrator or trustee who needs to see them to help manage an estate or trust
  • a Registrar of Marriages or a marriage celebrant who wants to check the people getting married are not closely related
  • a social worker who has a letter from a doctor asking for the information to:
    • get the medical or genetic history of an ‘unknown relative’ to help treat their patient
    • let an unknown relative know about a medical or genetic condition that the doctor has discovered while treating their patient. The patient’s consent is needed.

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