Marriage Act 1955

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Reprint as at 1 July 2013

Marriage Act 1955

Public Act1955 No 92
Date of assent27 October 1955
Commencementsee section 1(2)


Changes authorised by section 17C of the Acts and Regulations Publication Act 1989 have been made in this reprint.

A general outline of these changes is set out in the notes at the end of this reprint, together with other explanatory material about this reprint.

This Act is administered by the Ministry of Justice.



1 Short Title and commencement

Part 1

2 Interpretation

3 Application of Act

4 Registrar-General and Deputy Registrar-General

5 Appointment of Registrars and Deputy Registrars [Repealed]

6 Fact of deputies acting conclusive evidence of authority to do so [Repealed]

Part 2
Marriage celebrants

7 List of marriage celebrants

8 Marriage celebrants of specified religious bodies

9 Approval of organisations

10 Marriage celebrants from approved organisations

11 Other persons may be marriage celebrants

12 Renewal of list

13 Removal of names from list

14 Evidence of list or correction to list

14A This Part not to limit sections 32 and 32A

Part 3
Restrictions on marriage

15 Marriage of persons within prohibited degrees of relationship void

16 Validation of certain marriages already solemnized

17 Marriage of persons under 16 years of age

18 Consent to marriage of minors

19 Application to Family Court Judge where consent refused

20 General provisions relating to consents

21 Marriages without licence or marriage celebrant void

22 Marriages not to be void because of defects in procedure

Part 4
Formalities preliminary to marriage

23 Notice of marriage

24 Issue of marriage licence and information return

25 Caveats may be lodged

26 Discharge of caveat

27 Vexatious caveat

28 Registrar to issue licence unless satisfied marriage unlawful

29 Licence authorizes but not obliges marriage celebrant to solemnize marriage

Part 5
Solemnization of marriage

30 When marriage may be solemnized

31 Place and form of marriage before marriage celebrant

32 Marriage of Quakers

32A Marriage in accordance with rules and procedures of exempt religious bodies

32B Application to become exempt religious body

32C Declaration of religious body as exempt religious body

32D Change in beliefs or objects of exempt religious bodies

32E List of exempt religious bodies

33 Marriages before Registrar

33A Registrar-General may solemnise marriage

34 Proxy marriages

Part 6
Registration of marriages

35 Marriage registers

36 Particulars of marriage to be entered in register book [Repealed]

37 Penalty for failing to register marriage [Repealed]

37A Marriage celebrant to comply with directions of the Registrar-General with respect to registration [Repealed]

38 Registrar-General to keep register [Repealed]

Part 7
Marriages out of New Zealand

39 Foreign marriages of British subjects

40 Marriages abroad of Commonwealth citizens and citizens of Ireland

41 Certificate of no impediment to person intending foreign marriage

42 Notice of intended marriage outside New Zealand

43 New Zealand representative may attend marriage abroad of New Zealand citizen and give certificate

44 Validity of service marriages

45 Record of service marriages solemnized outside New Zealand [Repealed]

46 Special register of service marriages [Repealed]

Part 8

47 Correction of errors in register books or records [Repealed]

48 Search of records of Registrar [Repealed]

49 Search of records of Registrar-General [Repealed]

49A Disclosure of information to Department of Social Welfare [Repealed]

49B Registrar-General may authorise access to information [Repealed]

49C Limitations on access [Repealed]

49D Health or demographic research or collection of statistics [Repealed]

50 Shortened form of marriage certificates [Repealed]

50A Searches of Registrar-General's indexes [Repealed]

51 Certified copies to be evidence [Repealed]

52 Officers may take statutory declarations [Repealed]

53 Records to be made of dissolution of marriages [Repealed]

54 Convictions for bigamy to be recorded [Repealed]

55 Records of dissolution of marriage or bigamy to be made in record book [Repealed]

55A Recording of changes of name in marriage record book [Repealed]

56 Offence to deny or impugn validity of lawful marriage

57 Offence to alter register book without authority

58 Offence to solemnize marriage contrary to provisions of this Act

59 Offence to solemnize marriage falsely pretending to be marriage celebrant

60 Offences in connection with false statements and improper solemnization of marriages

61 Offences generally [Repealed]

62 Magistrate to have summary jurisdiction [Repealed]

63 Limitation on prosecutions

64 Regulations

64A Rules of procedure

65 Regulations may prescribe fees [Repealed]

66 Disposition of fines and fees

67 Repeals and savings

Schedule 1
Religious bodies

Schedule 2
Forbidden marriages

Schedule 3
Enactments repealed

Schedule 4
Enactments ceasing to have effect in New Zealand

Reprint notes

An Act to consolidate and amend the law relating to marriage