Bankruptcy is a High Court legal proceeding which allows people who cannot pay their bills to get a fresh financial start. right to file for bankruptcy is provided by law. Filing for bankruptcy immediately stops all of your creditors from seeking to collect debts from you.

In some cases a creditor will apply to the Court to have you adjudicated bankrupt. If you have not paid the outstanding amount by a specific date, you may have committed an 'act of bankruptcy' and the creditor can ask the judge to make you bankrupt. You will be served with a notice of hearings and can attend Court and make representations. You are entitled to have legal representation at the hearing. If you do not attend, the bankruptcy proceedings will proceed in your absence. Once you are bankrupt an Insolvency Officer from the Insolvency and Trustee Service will administer the estate.

During bankruptcy you must:

  • File an acceptable Statement of Affairs
  • Cooperate fully with the Official Assignee at all times
  • Comply with all requests for information
  • Notify the Official Assignee whenever you change your name, address, employment or terms of employment; income and/or expenditure
  • Fulfil all your legal obligations.

During bankruptcy if required you must:

  • Make payments toward your debts
  • Vacate land and/or buildings
  • Attend interviews or examinations on oath.

During bankruptcy you may not:

  • Withhold information or mislead
  • Incur credit of $NZ1,000 or more without disclosing you are bankrupt
  • Conceal assets
  • Stop, attempt to stop, or hamper the Official Assignee dealing with any property or assets.

During bankruptcy you may not without consent:

  • Leave New Zealand
  • Enter into, carry on, or take part in the management or control of any business
  • Be employed by a relative or entity owned, managed, or controlled by a relative.

Failure to adhere to these responsibilities and restrictions can result in a fine, imprisonment, or both.