Celebrant issue prompts marriage legality warning

The Press 08/08/2009

You may think you are happily married, but you might just be happy. The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) has warned that non-registered celebrants are taking the lead role at some weddings, raising concerns that the legality of several New Zealand marriages or civil unions is uncertain. In a letter written last month, DIA registrar-general Brian Clarke reminded registered celebrants that they must “officiate the ceremony” and “not be a bystander”.

“Instances continue to be brought to my attention of persons other than marriage or civil union celebrants taking the lead role in the solemnisation of marriages and civil unions,” he wrote. Several Christchurch celebrants said they knew of cases where registered celebrants were allowing non-registered people to officiate at weddings before stepping in to sign legal papers.