Civil Union Registrations
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, Stats NZ 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.
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.
2016 With the introduction of same-sex marriage in 2013, the number of civil unions has decreased significantly and interest has shifted from civil unions and marriages to same-sex and opposite-sex couples. As a result marriages and civil unions have been combined in most cases, with same-sex and opposite-sex breakdowns given where possible. New data series have been added to Infoshare under the subject category 'population' and group 'marriages, civil unions, and divorces.'
2016 All marriage, civil union, and divorce data has been randomly rounded to protect confidentiality. Individual figures may not add up to totals, and values for the same data may vary in different tables. Median ages have been recalculated using randomly rounded data. We are committed to ensuring confidentiality by not releasing information that could identify individuals. Random rounding is used to disguise small counts, but all cells in a table are randomly rounded. Counts that are already a multiple of three are left unchanged. Those not a multiple of three are rounded to one of the two nearest multiples. For example, a one will be rounded to either a zero or a three. Each value in the table is rounded independently. This means counts may not sum to totals, but ensures that published totals are within two of the original number.
Stats NZ, International agencies
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.
Combined civil unions and marriages (same-sex and opposite-sex) are available by broad geographic areas including Auckland, Wellington, the rest of the North Island, Canterbury, and the rest of the South Island. Auckland includes the Auckland council area. Wellington includes:
- Porirua city
- Upper Hutt city
- Lower Hutt city
- Wellington city
- Kapiti Coast district
- Masterton district
- Carterton district
- South Wairarapa district. Canterbury includes:
- Kaikoura district
- Hurunui district
- Waimakariri district
- Selwyn district
- Ashburton district
- Timaru district
- Mackenzie district
- Waimate district
- Christchurch city. The relatively small number of civil unions and same-sex marriages prohibits a more detailed geographic breakdown.
Marriages and civil unions combined are available by territorial authority (city and district council) from Infoshare.
Marriages, civil unions, and divorces webpage
Marriages, civil unions, and divorces archive webpage
Civil Unions and Marriages (provisional)
Family Court of New Zealand
The Civil Union Act 2004 came into force on 26 April 2005 and the first ceremonies were celebrated on 29 April 2005.
A civil union may be entered into by couples of the same sex or by couples of different sexes. 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. A couple (same or opposite sex) wishing to enter into a civil union in New Zealand must complete a Notice of Intended Civil Union (BDM360) at least three days before the civil union.
The BDM360 (or civil union licence) includes a statutory declaration which must be made in the presence of a Registrar of Civil Unions. The civil union must take place within 3 months of the licence being issued. The details from the BDM360 are transferred to two copies of the form BDM345 (Copy of Particulars of Civil Union). Both copies of the BDM345 are signed by the parties at the ceremony. The BDM345 confirms the details and legal validity of the civil union. Within ten days of the ceremony the celebrant must send one copy back to the Registrar who prepared it, the other copy is given to the couple as a record of their civil union. The BDM345s are marked against the BDM360s then forwarded to Births, Deaths and Marriages (a division of the Department of Internal Affairs) in Wellington where the civil union is registered. There is also the provision for opposite-sex and same-sex couples to transfer an existing marriage to a civil union, or a civil union to a marriage.
Civil union data are derived from information provided on the BDM360, BDM345 or BDM 359. Stats NZ receives a monthly electronic file of civil union registrations from Births, Deaths and Marriages. Stats NZ is responsible for processing and publishing marriage and civil union statistics derived from the marriage and civil union registrations. Civil union data are published annually and unless otherwise stated refer to civil unions by date of registration not date of occurrence. In recognition of public interest in the progress of civil unions, there are also quarterly releases of provisional civil union data as a web-only table. The provisional quarterly data are available within 5 weeks of the end of the quarter. If sex is not stated or is indeterminant, sex is imputed, however the original response is retained.
Civil union statistics measure the number of civil unions registered in New Zealand.