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Indians change name to gain acceptance

People of Indian and Chinese origin believe that anglicising their names will improve their job prospects and social status, a top Government official has said.

Jeff Montgomery, Registrar General and General Manager, Births, Deaths and Marriages of the Internal Affairs Department said that two out of five applicants for change of name are either Indians or Chinese.

“In case of Asian applicants, it would invariably be a common English name. Our Office receives 2000 applications, 40% of which are Asian or Indian,” he said.

Mr Montgomery can be called the New Zealand version of ‘Chitragupta,’ the Divine Record Keeper (according to the Hindu Faith).

His Office registers key life events including births, adoptions, name change, reassignment confirmation (gender change), marriages, civil unions and deaths.

Marriage Celebrants

A marriage becomes legal when registered and performed by a Marriage Celebrant or a marriage organisation. Very few non-Christian organisations have chosen to be marriage organisations. It could be a stand-alone ceremony or a part of a religious ceremony in a Temple, Gurdwara or Mosque.

According to Mr Montgomery, Marriage Celebrants need not be citizens or permanent residents but must be available in New Zealand to conduct ceremonies.

“We will consider applications from organisations or individuals seeking a celebrant’s licence for a person who has short-term residency,” he said.

New Zealand has more than 1800 independent Celebrants but only 12 of them are of Indian origin. The process of becoming an independent celebrant is free and currently his office is looking for more Indians and Asian celebrants.

“About 250 Indian couples were married at Government offices last year. There is therefore a need for more Indian Marriage Celebrants,” Mr Montgomery said.

Birth Certificates

Many Indians born during the Silent Generation (1940s) and Baby Boomers (1946 to 1964) do not have Birth Certificates since there were no such records created then. Absence of such certificates becomes an issue while they apply for New Zealand citizenship. However, for name change and marriage license, the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages can issue certificates.

“As for marriages, the process is simple. The couple should be 18 years or above, and provide proof or state on oath that any previous marriages have been dissolved. Even tourists can get married when they are in New Zealand. Marriage Celebrants ensure, among other things that they are not consenting under duress.

For further details, visit www.dia.govt.nz or call 0800-225252

Email: bdm.nz@dia.govt.nz

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