About marriages, civil unions, and divorces
Civil union statistics: The Civil Union Act 2004 came into force on 26 April 2005. This Act introduced a new form of legal relationship. A civil union may be entered into by couples of the same sex or by couples of different sexes. As in the past, a same-sex couple cannot enter into a marriage. The first civil union ceremonies were celebrated on 29 April 2005.
A civil union involves the act, ceremony, or process by which the legal relationship of two people is constituted. In New Zealand, a civil union may be solemnised either by a civil union celebrant or before a registrar of civil unions. A licence must be obtained from a registrar before a civil union can be solemnised, and notice must be given by one of the parties to a registrar.
Civil union statistics are based on the number of civil unions registered in New Zealand. A civil union is classed as a resident civil union if partner two is resident in New Zealand and as an overseas civil union if partner two is an overseas resident.
Divorce statistics: Divorce statistics provide information on orders for dissolution of marriage granted in New Zealand. An application for marriage dissolution can be made by either the husband or wife on the grounds that the marriage has broken down irreconcilably, provided a two-year separation requirement is satisfied. Orders for dissolution of marriage cannot be granted if both marriage partners live outside New Zealand.
From 2011, divorce statistics will be based on the year the order of dissolution of marriage was granted. All data published for 2011 will refer to orders granted in New Zealand in 2011. Data before 2011 is based on the date information about the order was received by Statistics New Zealand. For example, 2010 data may include an order granted before 2010. Hence, data from 2011 may not be directly comparable with data before 2011.
Marriage statistics: A marriage involves the act, ceremony, or process by which the legal relationship of husband and wife is constituted. In New Zealand, a marriage may be solemnised either by a celebrant or before a registrar of marriages. A licence must be obtained from a registrar before a marriage by a celebrant can be solemnised, and notice must be given by one of the parties to a registrar.
Marriage statistics from 1991 are based on the number of marriages registered in New Zealand of bridegrooms resident in New Zealand. Before 1991, marriages are based on the number of marriages registered in New Zealand of bridegrooms resident in New Zealand and bridegrooms visiting from overseas.
Divorce rate: the number of divorces for every 1,000 estimated existing marriages in New Zealand.
General marriage rate: the number of marriages per 1,000 not-married population aged 16 years and over.
Median age: half are younger and half older than this age.