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Getting Married in New Zealand – Te Mārenatanga ki Aotearoa:  A guide to creating wedding and birth celebrations

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By Gregory Hughson & Douglas Pratt

Book Description

This book has everything you need to plan and create a wedding ceremony and celebration that is right for you.

The authors have many years’ experience of offering couples a multi-choice format upon which to construct their marriage ceremony. The essence of the book is flexibility and adaptability to individual circumstances.

For each key part of your wedding ceremony there are many text options to choose from. Combine them or use them as a starting point to write your own text.

The book includes templates and information for:

  • Christian and secular weddings

  • te reo Māori ceremonies

  • same-sex weddings

  • a Tibetan Buddhist ceremony, and

  • guidance about what to expect at a Moslem wedding.

Combine them or use them as a starting point to write your own text.

The authors also provide guidance about wedding receptions, including toasts, speeches and, things to avoid.

Based on their long experience of conducting wedding celebrations and working with couples, they also offer advice about building strong marriage relationships.

Click here to download free wedding and reception checklists and summaries:

The authors also provide practical guidance about wedding receptions, including things to avoid, and they offer some advice about building strong, healthy marriage relationships. And they have included guidance and options celebrating the birth of children.

Both authors have significant experience of helping couples prepare for marriage and conducting marriage ceremonies. This book represents a pooling of their experience and expertise. They have also been active in promoting interfaith activity and greater interreligious understanding in New Zealand and beyond. There is a great deal that we can learn from people who base their lives and marriages on a faith different to ours, or on no particular religious faith-foundation at all. This book thus provides some “other-than-Christian faith” marriage information and ceremony options as an aid to greater understanding.

Te reo Māori (The Māori language) is an official language of Aotearoa New Zealand. The everyday use of te reo has been increasing significantly over the last 30 years. Accordingly, the authors have incorporated Ngā Whakaritenga Mārena – a marriage order of service in te reo Māori – within this book.

The authors hope that this book will also be valued by all who seek a broader and more informed understanding of marriage, including recent developments in New Zealand law to allow for same-sex marriage. Material is provided to help all readers understand some of the rationale and reasons why same-sex marriage has become legal in Aotearoa-NZ, and some of the theological understandings which undergird acceptance of same-sex marriage by some Churches.

The format and style of the wedding reception has evolved over the years. The authors provide advice for how to structure a contemporary wedding reception, taking account of significant changes within society.

Ceremonies of thanksgiving and blessing for the birth of a child are also included within this book. Many couples enter into a committed partnership with the intention of having, or adopting, a child, or children. Resources are provided here to assist with the creation of rituals which will help celebrate the arrival of a new life.

Getting Married in New Zealand – Te Mārenatanga ki Aotearoa is a resource for everyone. It is also a Christian-based practical theology resource which seeks to deepen our understanding of the meaning of marriage, and to provide quality inclusive resources to celebrate and sustain marriage relationships. It is the authors hope that this book will help meet the real needs of a new generation of couples and celebrants, both within and “way beyond” the Church.

In short, this book is:

  • ideal for celebrants to share with couples

  • ideal for couples to plan their own unique celebration

  • a helpful gift for couples preparing to marry

  • for couples seeking to deepen their marriage relationships, and

  • for theology, ministry and religious studies students

About the Authors

Gregory Hughson

With an M.Sc. in Biological Science and from a background in Agricultural Science Research, Greg trained for ordination as a Methodist Minister from 1985-1987, obtaining a Bachelor of Divinity in Practical Theology with Distinction from the University of Otago. He spent six years in parish ministry in Feilding (1988-93) followed by six years as Methodist Parish Superintendent in Gisborne (1994-99). He spent the next twenty years (2000-2019) as ecumenical chaplain at the University of Otago. Throughout his ministry Greg has enjoyed conducting many weddings, largely based on material provided by Douglas Pratt in previous editions of this book. Greg is now retired and living in Dunedin.

Douglas Pratt

Douglas trained as a Methodist minister, gaining degrees in philosophy (MA) and theology (BD, PhD). He later trained as a marriage relationship counsellor and supervisor. It was during his first parish appointment, 1975-78, that Doug began to offer a multi-choice marriage ceremony format and was at the forefront of promoting alternatives for both the ceremony and the location of weddings. Such developments paved the way for today’s context of secular (Civil) marriage celebrants. In 1984, following two years of overseas study (1979-80) and three years in Methodist parish ministry in Dunedin (1981-83), Doug took up an appointment as ecumenical chaplain to the University of Waikato. In 1988 he was appointed the foundation lecturer in Religious Studies at the University. In 1998 Doug became an Anglican priest while remaining a full-time university lecturer, retiring in 2018 as a professor. It was during his tenure as chaplain that the initial work on alternative marriage ceremonies was further developed and led to the publication of this book’s predecessor Celebrating Marriage.
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