Become an organisational celebrant
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:
- Greek Orthodox Church
- Hebrew Congregations
- Lutheran Church of New Zealand
- 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.
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.
Good character referees
You need 2 referees to fill in the good character form.
Criminal conviction history
You need a copy of your criminal conviction history from the Ministry of Justice.
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.
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.
Apply online and pay
You need to apply online using your verified RealMe account.
- 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.
- Do the online test and fill in the application form.
- Attach your supporting documents to your online application.
- 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.
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.