You will probably have a copy of your own birth certificate and perhaps certificates of other family members, but it is important to remember that a certified copy of an entry, (certificate), does not contain all the information recorded in the register.  An electronic printout of the original entry usually contains more information than a certificate.

You can apply for an electronic printout from the Registrar General by post. If you really want to obtain a certified copy of an entry, to gain the most information, you must ask for a full certificate, so that you do not receive a shortened certificate, (usually used when you are required to verify your date of birth). You should be aware that not all information recorded is accurate, as the informant may have given the wrong information, or the recorder may have written down the names and other details incorrectly.

Copies of the Registrar General’s Indexes to Birth, Death and Marriage Registers are available for viewing at the NZSG Family Research Centre, in larger public libraries; and Family History Centres of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). The later indexes may be accessed on computer database. When you apply to the Registrar, it is a requirement that you supply sufficient information to identify your request. You need to supply the full name (if a marriage, either bride’s or groom’s name), year, and reference number from the indexes.

Indexes to the birth and death registers contain a surname, forename/s and folio number. From 1956 a district of registration is included and from 1960, the death indexes contain the age of the deceased. The location of the District Office where a birth or death was registered can be determined from the folio number. See District Keys to the NZ Registration Indexes. 1848-1920) by Mary Neill, Meryl Lowrie and Aileen Wood (NZSG, Auckland, 1990), and District Keys to the NZ Registration Indexes. 1921-1955 (NZSG Auckland 1997).

For access to records not indexed on microfiche and entries in the Maori Registers, you need to supply the following information: for births, full name, date and place of birth, parents’ full names; for deaths, full name, date and place of death, parents’ names, if known; for marriages, the full names of bride and groom, date and place of the event.

Electronic printouts are available for Births 1848-1997, Deaths 1848-1997 and Marriages 1854-1997, and can give more information than a certified copy of a certificate.