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What you need to know

Organisational celebrants can legally perform marriages in New Zealand for an approved church or organisation.

What it costs

It costs $150 to apply to become an organisational celebrant.

How long it takes

You usually find out within 3 to 4 weeks if your application has been approved or not.

Delays in processing new  applications

If you apply between October and January it can take up to 3 months for your application to be processed. This is because celebrant renewals are also processed then. There’s no urgent service available. Thanks for your patience.

 

How to apply

Before you apply

If you want to be a celebrant in the following churches, you need to contact the central contract or head of your church:

  • Anglican
  • Baptist
  • Greek Orthodox Church
  • Hebrew Congregations
  • Lutheran Church of New Zealand
  • Methodist
  • Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Roman Catholic
  • Salvation Army

If you want to be a celebrant in another church or organisation, you need to apply online. As part of your application, you need to provide supporting documents and take an online test.

Prepare your supporting documents

Your supporting documents need to show that:

  • you're supported by your organisation
  • you’re of good character, and
  • you’ll conscientiously perform the duties of a celebrant.

Your supporting documents must be less than 6 months old and need to show that.

Statutory declaration

You need 10 members of your organisation to fill in the statutory declaration form. Another person must declare it in front of an authorised person, for example a JP, solicitor or Registrar of Marriages. 

Statutory declaration nomination of marriage celebrant by approved organisation (PDF 50KB)

Statutory declaration nomination of marriage celebrant by approved organisation accessible alternative (TXT 3KB)

Good character referees

You need 2 referees to fill in the good character form.

Good character form (PDF 25KB)

Good character form accessible alternative (TXT 1KB)

Criminal conviction history

You need a copy of your criminal conviction history from the Ministry of Justice.

Getting a copy of your criminal record

Prepare for the online test

The application includes an online test. Everything you need to know is in the marriage information on this website and in the Department of Internal Affairs training course.

Getting married

Becoming a celebrant — training course

Make sure you have a verified RealMe identity

You need a verified RealMe identity to apply online. RealMe gives you a single login to multiple online services including Celebrants Online. When you upgrade to a verified RealMe identity, it also works as your online ID. You can get your RealMe identity verified at a PostShop.

RealMe — verify your identity

Apply online and pay

You need to apply online using your verified RealMe account.

  1. Make sure you have a scan or photo of each of your supporting documents. Save them to the computer, phone or device you’re using to apply.
  2. Do the online test and fill in the application form.
  3. Attach your supporting documents to your online application.
  4. Pay the fee of $150 using a credit or debit card.

What happens next

You should find out within 3 to 4 weeks if your application has been approved or not.

There is no urgent service.

If your application is approved

You will be told by email if your application is approved. You will be able to legally marry people as soon as you receive the email.

Your name will be added to the list of celebrants so people can find your details online.

Locating a celebrant

Your organisation must renew your registration as a celebrant at the end of each year. The Registrar-General will email the central contact of your organisation with instructions for them to complete this on your behalf.

Renew your celebrant registration

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