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Marriages, Civil Unions, and Divorces: Year ended December 2015
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  04 May 2016
Data quality

General information

More information – DataInfo+

Marriages – DataInfo+
General methodology used to produce marriage statistics, and related metadata.

Civil unions – DataInfo+
General methodology used to produce civil union statistics, and related metadata.

Divorce – DataInfo+
General methodology used to produce divorces statistics, and related metadata.

Principles and protocols for producers of Tier 1 statistics
Statistics in this release have been produced in accordance with the Official Statistics System principles and protocols for producers of Tier 1 statistics for quality. They conform to the Statistics NZ Methodological Standard for Reporting of Data Quality.

Data source

Marriages and civil unions: Statistics NZ receives a monthly electronic file of registered marriages and civil unions from Births, Deaths, and Marriages. We are responsible for processing and publishing statistics derived from the marriage and civil union registrations.

Divorces: Ministry of Justice provides a quarterly electronic file of orders for dissolution of marriage and civil unions granted in New Zealand. The data is compiled from information collected by the family courts.

Geographical information

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.

Court was the only field giving a geographic breakdown of where divorces actually occur in New Zealand. All dissolutions are now processed through Wellington, and as such, we cannot provide a geographic breakdown. We do not collect information on the residence of the parties at the time the divorce becomes legal.


To comply with Statistics NZ's confidentiality protocols, some categories are collapsed or aggregated in tables and datasets.

We applied random rounding to three (RR3) to all data to protect confidentiality. Individual figures may not add up to totals, and values for the same data may vary in different tables.

What is RR3? Random rounding to 3 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.

We apply random rounding to all published tables and to customised tables provided to researchers.

In some tables, where rows or columns contain many cells with low values, we may also suppress, collapse, or aggregate rows or columns.


While all care and diligence has been used in processing, analysing, and extracting data and information in this publication, Statistics NZ gives no warranty it is error-free and will not be liable for any loss or damage suffered by the use directly, or indirectly, of the information in this publication.


Our information releases are delivered electronically by third parties. Delivery may be delayed by circumstances outside our control. Statistics NZ does not accept responsibility for any such delay.

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