Your marriage should be registered in the country where it takes place. There is no legal obligation for you to have your overseas marriage registered in New Zealand. The only practical benefit of registering your marriage in New Zealand is that a marriage certificate can be issued to you from New Zealand. This certificate does not replace the certificate issued to you in Malaysia or Brunei. Generally a marriage solemnised abroad in a non-polygamous country in accordance with the laws of that country will be deemed valid in New Zealand. Such marriages are recognised in New Zealand for the purposes of residence visa or citizenship applications.
If you feel it is essential to register your marriage in New Zealand, the 1995 Marriages Act requires that the witnessing of marriages be conducted by a New Zealand representative. You must therefore have it witnessed by an official from the New Zealand High Commission.
If the ceremony is to be conducted locally and resources at the New Zealand High Commission are available, then a representative may attend. The representative may not be available to attend weddings outside Kuala Lumpur and its environs. However, all requests will be considered.
A fee will be charged for witnessing a marriage, and for any accommodation and travel costs.
Please note that our Honorary Consuls are not available to witness marriages.
There are a number of procedures to follow before getting married overseas. The Department of Internal Affairs(external link) office in Wellington will be able to provide details.
It is also very important that you contact the marriage authorities in Malaysia or Brunei to check local marriage laws and requirements.
The Department of Internal Affairs(external link) office in Wellington issues the document, known as a Certificate of No Impediment, which is essential for marriages overseas. Allow for plenty of time when planning your marriage. Under New Zealand law, 14 days from the date of receiving your application must elapse before a Certificate of No Impediment can be issued. Allow longer if the documents have to be authenticated. Phone us on (+60 3) 2078 2533, fax us on (+60 3) 2078 0387 or e-mail us for an application form, or visit the New Zealand Government website(external link).