The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Marriage Amendment Act in effect by 19 August

22 April 2013

The Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Act has received Royal assent and will come into force by 19 August 2013.

The date the changes take effect will be confirmed as part of new regulations to introduce marriage forms, says Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Jeff Montgomery.

“We are preparing for changes to take effect from 19 August. On that day we will have new forms available for all couples who want to get married, including same sex couples. From that day, all couples must use the new form.

“A couple will apply for a marriage licence using the new form. Three days after the completed form is received by the Department, a marriage licence will be ready for collection and a marriage can take place.

“The Department has a lot of work to do before the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Act comes into force. We are confident everything will be ready for the day the new law takes effect.

We have to:

  • amend the various forms and certificates used to collect, register and provide information under the Marriage Act 1955 and the Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Act 1995;
  • alter the Department's computer systems to allow for the recording of same-sex marriages, including capturing the sex of the parties to the marriage;
  • provide information to the public and celebrants about the changes, for example on websites, brochures and other guidance material published by the Department; and train staff who conduct registry office marriages and provide information to the public.”

'The Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Act enables couples to marry regardless of their gender or sexual orientation. The new statutory definition of marriage in the Marriage Act defines marriage as "the union of 2 people, regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity".

All couples getting married in New Zealand must follow the correct process, including using a licensed marriage celebrant or a Registrar of Marriages. The Department licenses marriage celebrants, registers marriages and produces marriage certificates.

Media Contact:

Michael Mead
Communications Account Manager, Service Delivery and Operations
The Department of Internal Affairs Te Tari Taiwhenua
Phone 64 4 382 3437; mobile 64 21 245 7451

For more information see: Marriage Amendment Act - Questions and Answers (22 August 2013)