Civil Union

Civil Union is legal in New Zealand and is a public declaration of your commitment to share your lives together.  I offer a personalized ceremony which reflects your values and your hopes for your future together. 

Some things we will talk about during the planning process are:

• The story of your relationship
• Why you have chosen to have a civil union ceremony
• What commitment means to you
• What you value and love in each other
•• Your hopes and dreams
• Whether there are any traditions, spiritual or cultural practices you want to incorporate
• Any particular actions or symbols you’d like to include

Formalities for Civil Unions

No Civil Union celebrant may solemnise a Civil Union until they have received a Civil Union Licence authorising the particular Union.

Decide on the time and place of the ceremony
You may have a Civil Union ceremony at any place and at any time of any day that you and the celebrant agree on.  The Christchurch City Council offers a number of locations and halls which must be booked and paid for.  The charge for most outdoor locations is around $50 ($61.30 for the Botanic Gardens).  Phone the Council on 03 941 8383 to check availability and cost.  If you are planning an outdoor ceremony it is recommended that you select an alternative indoor venue (in case of bad weather) and nominate both on your Notice of Intended Civil Union.

Civil Union Licence
One of the parties to the Union must go to the office of the Registrar of Civil Unions (Department of Internal Affairs, BNZ Centre, Level 1, 120 Hereford Street) and fill in a Notice of Intended Civil Union (this form can be downloaded from the Internal Affairs website)  You will need to have the full names of the parents of both parties.  You will be required to sign a statutory declaration that both parties are free to enter into a Civil Union and that all the details supplied are correct.  This must be done at least a week before you plan to have the ceremony.

If you are under eighteen years of age you will need the written consent of your parents or guardians.  No one under the age of sixteen years can enter a Civil Union.  If either of you has previously been married or in a Civil Union you will need to produce documentary evidence of the dissolution of that relationship. If your former partner or spouse has died the date and place of death must be stated on the Notice of Intended Civil Union.  If you are changing the form of your relationship from a marriage to a Civil Union the Registrar will require documentary proof of the current relationship.

The fee for a Civil Union Licence is $150.00.

It takes at least three days for a licence to be issued.  The Civil Union licence and other records must then be collected so that the Civil Union celebrant named on the licence has the documentation in adequate time before the ceremony.  The licence is valid for three months.

Place of Civil Union
A Civil Union ceremony can  be conducted only at the place described on the Civil Union licence.  When for some reason it is desired to change the venue after the licence is issued, the person who made the declaration on the Notice of Intended Civil Union must go to the Registrar who issued the licence, in person, and have the licence amended prior to the ceremony.  This will generally attract a fee for the new documentation to be issued.

Where the nominated celebrant cannot officiate at a Civil Union ceremony, any other registered Civil Union celebrant may officiate.

Civil Union Ceremony
The ceremony must be performed in the presence of the celebrant and at least two witnesses who must be old enough to understand what occurs at the ceremony and the importance of the part they are taking.

The Civil Union ceremony may take such form as is agreed between the Celebrant and the Parties to the Union.  During the ceremony the two parties to the Union must say the following or similar words to each other:  “I ………(full name) freely enter into a civil union with you (full name).”

If you have questions about the formalities of Civil Union you can phone the Births, Deaths and Marriages office on 0800 225 252.

You are welcome to contact me at

Published on 9 March 2018 at 3:21 am  Leave a Comment  

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