More weddings for Waikato JPs

Justices of the Peace (JPs) are performing more marriage and civil union ceremonies in Hamilton, thanks to the collaboration and work between our Hamilton Registry team, our Courts and Tribunals Operations Support team, the Royal Federation of NZ JPs and the Waikato JP Association.

‘There was incredible enthusiasm from JPs to do this,’ says Andrea Haines, President of the Waikato JP Association, ‘JPs are all about the personal touch – this is another way to serve the community.’

The initiative helps harness the people skills and legal experience that many JPs have, and frees up some time for our Registry staff to support our other customers. About 250 (263 in 2016) Registry Office ceremonies are conducted in Hamilton each year; the most of any court Registry in the country and more than 15% of the annual total.

The next court looking to involve more JPs in Registry Office ceremonies is Tauranga, who performed 157 ceremonies in 2016 – the next busiest court Registry Office. A similar arrangement is already established in the District Court at Waitakere.

‘JPs often deal with members of the public and their legal documents, and it’s nice to bring these skills to a special time in peoples’ lives,’ says Julie Jopson, Service Manager, District Courts – Central Region. ‘Weddings are pretty special. Even though registry ceremonies are pretty short and sweet, it still has the same effect on peoples’ lives.’

Orientation training was run by two of our Hamilton team for the ten Hamilton JPs who put their names forward to provide this service. Training covered the room location, layout and safety, ceremony wording, and key Registry contact people. The ten JPs were authorised by the Registrar-General (DIA) under the Marriage Act (1955) to provide this service.

‘We have developed national standards and protocols for providing this service for all our 36 Registry Offices that administer Births, Deaths and Marriages (BDM) for DIA if needed, which are agreed with the Royal Federation of NZ Justices Association,’ says Kevin Gardner, Principal Advisor, Operations Support. ‘This ensures that no matter what court Registry our customers attend for a Registry Office ceremony, they can expect the same level and quality of service.’

Marriage and Civil Union ceremonies in Aotearoa:

  • In 2016, 20,235 marriages and civil unions were registered to New Zealand residents.
  • Of these, 1610 occurred in the 36 court registries authorised by the Department of Internal Affairs to provide this service (‘BDM registries’).
  • Most Registry ceremonies take around 30-40 minutes, including issuing paperwork.

See more about Registry Office ceremonies (DIA website)(external link).

Photo: Newly married couple Thomas and Carol, with JP Vaninder Kaur Bassan (centre) at the District Court Registry in Hamilton.

← Back to the news

This page was last updated: