Marriage rates have fallen so far in the past 40 years that what was once an institution is now largely a symbolic gesture.
A record low 20,900 marriages took place last year, less than one-third of the number in 1971 and one half of the 1987 rate, figures from Statistics NZ reveal.
And Victoria University anthropology senior lecturer Diane O’Rourke sees no chance of those numbers heading back up again.
“People don’t need to get married any more to make a living or raise children. You have to specifically want to be married.”