Legal age guidelines

Legal age guidelines

We get frequent email enquiries from worried parents wondering what the safe legal age is for their child to do certain things in New Zealand.

In response to these requests we created this quick reference list for parents of New Zealand children showing the minimum Legal Age for Activities between ages 5 to 25 years.

If you want to know what the law says about the age you can legally leave children at home alone, check out our article At what age can I leave my children home alone?.

 Ages         Activities
   5            starting school (earliest age)
   6            starting school (latest age)
   7            starting school (latest age if the child must walk more than 3 km to school)
¬†¬† 14¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† babysitting — a babysitter’s minimum age
   14          leaving a child alone in your house
¬†¬† 16¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† getting a learner’s driving licence
   16          leaving school (earliest age)
   16          living with a partner
   16          to leave home without parental consent
   16          age of consent for sex
   16          deciding on which parent to live with (if separated)
   16          parental consent is required for medical/dental treatment
   16          starting full time work
   16          getting a tattoo
¬†¬† 16¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† getting married or having a civil union (with parents’ consent)
   17          getting a full driving licence
   17          joining the Navy, Army, Airforce without parental consent
¬†¬† 18¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† getting married or having a civil union (without parents’ consent)
   17          buy a Daily Keno ticket
   18          buy a Lotto ticket
¬†¬† 18¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† can be legally independent of their parents’ guardianship
   18          enter into contracts
   18          buying alcohol
   18          drinking alcohol
   18           buying cigarettes
   18           buying firecrackers
   18           opening a cheque account, applying for credit card
   18           borrowing money
   18           joining the Police Force
   18           electoral voting
   18           making a Will
   19           the right to free education ends
   20           if adopted applying to Births Death and Marriages for a copy of the birth  certificate (to find out birth parents)
   20           adopting a child if they are related.
   25           adopting a child Рif the child is at least 20 years younger.
   20           enter a casino

You may also want to read At what age can I leave my children home alone?. Or for more expert parenting advice check out our Grown ups: Parenting section.

The Kiwi Families Team

This information was compiled by the Kiwi Families team.

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