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Register a Business Name in NZ

Register a Business Name in NZ

Choosing a business name is an important step for any entrepreneur. The name can reflect a particular business goal or a vision and, in any case, it becomes a fundamental part of the business image. Like in any other jurisdiction, when investor start a company in New Zealand they will need to check the availability of a particular name as well as register the business name in NZ.

 Quick Facts  
Business name mandatory for company formation (Yes/No) Yes

Original business name requirement


Company name availability check


Name reservation possible (Yes/No) Yes
Name registration documents

 – written approval to use restricted words (only in some cases)

– fill in the other mandatory information for online name reservation

Requirement for different trading name

The business name can be different from the trade name

Main business name qualities

– original;

– easy to remember;

– ideally associated with the business and/or its values

Main rules for business names

– do not infringe existing registered names

– do not use restricted words unless explicitly allowed (in rare cases)

Prohbited business names

– ofenssive towards the public policy, religions or groups;

– uses macrons unless related to a Māori name or place;

– it has words that are restricted or protected by law

Name registration processing time (approx.) The same business day
Name registration status follow-up

 – an e-mail confirmation is issued after the application is processed;

– the name holder has 20 days to incorporate the company

Name reservation extension

20 business days

Steps if the proposed company name is rejected

A new reservation and fee is required

Business name registration costs

$10 (plus GST)

Company name change

– register the change with the Companies Register;

– the same rules for prior name approval apply

The company name registration phase is an essential process, after which the other incorporation steps can commence. Our team of company formation agents in New Zealand presents the main steps needed to reserve and register a business name as well as briefly lists other important post-name registration steps.

For complete information on business name registration and company formation, please reach out to our agents. We offer services to local and foreign nationals who wish to start their business in New Zealand and we assist our clients each step of the way, from reserving the name to making sure that the business obtains the relevant permits and licenses for its industry.

How to register a business name in NZ

The business name is subject to a number of conditions, apart from those that have to do solely with the investor’s wishes and preferences. The most important aspect to keep in mind is that the name needs to be unique.

A business name is registered with the NZ Companies Office, operating under the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. A prior check can be performed with the Office in order to reserve the name and, if the investor wishes to do so, also register a domain name and commence the process for trademark registration.

Before they register a business name in NZ, investors should be ware that the trading name (the public name used by the company in relation to its clients) can be different from the registered business name, the one for which the application is submitted with the Companies Office. However, the trading name cannot infringe an existing trademark or use restricted words.

Names that infringe existing ones can be subject to legal proceedings under the Fair Trading Act, an issue that would hinder the business from commencing or continue to develop its activities and an event that would add additional expenses, apart from the cost to register a business name in NZ and the costs for launching the business. This is why is it important to make sure that the business and trade name check is performed accordingly.

NZ rules for business names

The name of the company needs to be unique and it cannot be reserved if it is identical or almost identical to an already registered one. We list below some of the main conditions that apply when investors register a business name in NZ:

  • Almost identical names: this can be hard to determine, however, when investors wish to use the same words, they can opt for a different order or include a year or a number;
  • Special uses: the company name cannot include restricted or protected words; examples include, “Government”, “Her Majesty”, “Interpol”, “Queen” or “Red Cross”; when the company is not involved in selected business fields, such as insurance, it cannot use these specific words;
  • Symbols: the name can include numbers and symbols only in some cases, for example when their use is in an acceptable context;
  • Others: the name cannot use macrons, unless it will be used in a Māori place or as part of Māori name.

Our team can give you more details on the requirements or limitations on company names so that you can make an informed decision and avoid the situation in which your chosen business name is incompliant. 

The business name registration is just one of the steps when you choose to open a business in New Zealand. The creation of a company will involve several pre- and post-registration steps, as well as ongoing compliance. Our team can help you with information on company names, setting up an office, how to employ staff, and how to handle tax matters, among many other issues.

We invite you to watch a video about business name reservations in NZ:

NZ company formation costs

The cost to register a business name in NZ will also include those for registering the business name. Other relevant costs can include the following:

  1. Cost to register a business name in NZ: $11.50 including GST;
  2. Cost to incorporate the company: the total amount including GST is $131.55;
  3. The company restoration cost: $172.5 for the total, including GST.

There is no fee for registering the change of a company name. When a company changes its name with another legal entity (company name swap), a fee of $10 (to which GST is added) applies to each of the two companies. The fees presented herein were in force starting with July 1, 2021. For updated information, or changes to the Companies Office fees, please reach out to our agents.

Company name registration is a compulsory step to set up a company in New Zealand. This can take place as soon as the founder has created an online services account. As seen in this article, the company name reservation is subject to a fee, and the investor is conditioned by a limited timeframe to complete the incorporation once the name has been reserved. With our help, you will be able to finish the registration in due time.

You can reach out to our team of company formation agents in the country for more information on the estimated cost to register a business name in NZ as well as receive personalized assistance.