Civil Unions

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Civil union statistics measure the number of civil unions registered in New Zealand. Civil unions may be entered into by couples of the same sex or by couples of different sexes.

As the principal agency responsible for processing and publishing civil union statistics in New Zealand, Statistics New Zealand seeks to provide information that meets the legal, public policy and community requirements for up-to-date official statistics at the national level.


The Civil Union Act 2004 came into force on 26 April 2005 and the first ceremonies were celebrated on 29 April 2005. This Act introduced a new form of legal relationship. Two people aged 18 years and over, whether of opposite or the same sex, can enter into a civil union provided they are not currently married to, or in a civil union with, someone else. As with marriages, people aged 16 and 17 years must have their guardian's consent to enter a civil union. A couple who are currently married can transfer their relationship to a civil union . A couple in a civil union can transfer their relationship to a marriage.

Citation Information


Civil Unions

Alternate Title

Civil Union Registrations


Statistics New Zealand


Statistics New Zealand

Coverage Information

Temporal Coverage

  • 2005 to present

Topical Coverage

  • People and communities
  • Civil union


Significant events impacting this study series

2005 Relationship (Statutory References) Act 2005 enacted March 2005.

2005 Civil Union Act 2004 came into force on 26 April 2005, allowing registration of same-sex as well as opposite-sex partnerships. The first ceremonies were celebrated on 29 April 2005.

2005 Married couples are now able to transfer their marriage without first dissolving the marriage to a civil union.

2013 All couples (opposite-sex and same-sex) are now able to transfer their civil union to a marriage without first dissolving the civil union.

2014 Marriage rates change, from using just marriages as a proportion of the population, to marriages and civil unions excluding transfers to and from civil unions (marriages + civil unions - transfers). Marriage rates will be revised from 2005 onwards.

2015 Changes to "Civil unions and marriages (provisional) – tables" release. This release was published for the last time on 5 November 2015. A new Infoshare series - "Quarterly Marriages and Civil Unions (provisional)" - can be found under the subject Population and group: Marriages, Civil Unions, and Divorces. The table will be updated quarterly with provisional data. Marriages and civil unions will be combined. The data in this table has been randomly rounded to three to protect confidentiality. Individual figures may not add up to totals, and values for the same data may vary in different tables.

Main users of the data

Statistics New Zealand, International agencies


3) Quarterly

Usage and limitations of the data

Limitations of Data Geographical breakdowns are based on residence of partner two not place of the civil union. We do not compile statistics on place of the civil union. The information is coded by territorial authority, and only available in the broad geographical areas of Auckland, Wellington, rest of North Island, Canterbury, rest of South Island, and total New Zealand.

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