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Newsletter for celebrants: March 2016

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Message from the Registrar-General

Jeff Montgomery

Jeff Montgomery, General Manager and Registrar-General; Births, Deaths, Marriages and Citizenship.

In our last issue I wrote about how excited I was for the launch of Celebrants Online. I’m thrilled that the service is now live, and the 2015 renewal was successfully completed using integration with RealMe verified identities.

I want to thank you those of you that embraced change with open arms and for taking the time to create your RealMe verified identity. The new service builds on previous work to modernise marriage and civil union services, and will make interactions with us much easier. I also acknowledge that some struggled due to technical problems or challenges in getting a RealMe verified account. The good news is that next year it will be so much easier for everyone.

The Celebrant search function on the DIA website has also been upgraded to match the new portal capabilities – please take a moment to check that your details are correct, and remember that you can choose what information is shared on our website and what stays private. If your details require updating, you can either use the Celebrant Self Service to complete this yourself or contact us. You can also use the self-service tool to upload a photo of yourself – images need to be less than 5mb, and must be one of the following file types: jpeg, jpg, gif or png.


Celebrants Online is live!

Map of New Zealand

On 1 October, Celebrants Online went live. The new portal enables independent celebrants to complete their annual renewal online, as well as applications from those wanting to be appointed as a celebrant.

Existing independent celebrants can easily update contact details and other information or even add their photo that they wish to have published on the DIA website.

A total of 1,643 independent celebrants renewed online by the close off date. At the time of this newsletter, 177 new applications have been received!

The renewal for organisational celebrants starts a little later than independent celebrants and just over 7,300 organisational celebrants were reappointed for 2016.



Your feedback is always welcome - on the online service, this newsletter, or any other topic.


BDM content of coming soon! exists to make it easier for you to find and use government information online. All content is in plain English, so it’s easy to understand. Even better, it’s arranged in the way users said that they searched for information.

BDM is working with the team to include information about Births, Deaths and Marriages on their site.

“We’re excited that our information will be on a site that is purpose-designed to make it easier for users to find, access and use government services online,” says Jeff.

“The site will include information on marriage and civil union celebrants, as well as a link to the celebrant locater, and will be completed mid-year.”


The must haves – celebrants and ceremonies

The end of the busy season is another opportunity to recap the minimum legal requirements of a wedding ceremony. These can be difficult to explain to couples, so taking some time to avoid confusion is always encouraged.

The first is formal identification – the celebrant must formally identify the couple, ensuring that the people standing in front of them at the wedding are the people listed on the marriage licence.

The full names of the couple must be used at some point during the ceremony proceedings.

The celebrant must also lead the couple in their vows. A good example of this is: “I, John Smith, take you, Jane Doe, to be my legal wife/husband”, or words to similar effect.

When registering a marriage, it’s hugely important that paperwork is correct and complete. To ensure prompt and accurate registration, celebrants need to put their full name, and their celebrant number, on both of the Copy of Particulars. Organisational celebrants are required to include their denomination. Clarification on any issue can be found by contacting us.


Fresh approach for Christchurch

Contemporary new marriage space at Cashel Square

Our Christchurch teams have moved from their temporary premises on Orchard Road to a new, purpose-designed office in Cashel Square (Level 1 BNZ Centre, 120 Hereford Street).

The customer-centric office supports customers to access our services digitally, using in-house ipads and service ‘pods’ replacing the counters we’ve traditionally known.

The change represents a fundamental shift in how we engage with and serve our customers, and includes a contemporary new marriage space, enabling couples to enjoy a registry office ceremony in a private, modern area.

Since opening in late February, the new space is being utilised by around 20 couples per week.


Fun facts

BDM has a total of 10,083 celebrants registered. Of these, 2,263 are independent; 3,810 are approval organisational celebrants and 4,010 are celebrants of specified religious bodies.

Of the 22,850 registered marriages in 2015, around 50% were conducted by independent celebrants. 27% were conducted by celebrants from approved organisations and specified religious organisations, and the remaining 23% were conducted in registry offices.