The legal age of marriage in New Zealand is 16 years. If one or both partners are under the age of 20 and have not been married before, then parental consent to marry is required.

Divorce in New Zealand is simple. Couples can separate immediately and a divorce is granted automatically after they have lived apart for 2 years. Dissolution is granted on the basis of irreconcilable differences. These grounds for divorce cover all reasons for ending a marriage.

All matrimonial property is generally divided equally between the partners if they are divorcing after three years of marriage, this also applies to same-sex and de facto relationships. For shorter marriages, the equal sharing rules may be modified.

Making a Will

Anyone aged 18 years and over can make a will either through the Public Trust, which provides a simple and low cost service, or a private lawyer.

Alcohol and the Law

Wine and beer are available from most supermarkets seven days a week, and wine, beer and spirits at specialist outlets (‘bottle stores’).

Anyone aged 18 years or over can go into ‘licensed premises’ and buy and drink alcohol. Licensed premises include hotels, pubs, restaurants, clubs, bottle stores, supermarkets, cafes, bars and nightclubs. If you are asked to prove you are 18 years or over, you can use either:

  • a New Zealand photo driver licence
  • a New Zealand or overseas passport, or
  • an ‘evidence of age’ document from the Hotel Association of New Zealand (available at any New Zealand Post Shop for a fee).

People who are under 18 can be supplied with alcohol by their parent or legal guardian, either at home or at a private social gathering, it is illegal for people under 18 to drink in a public place.

Drink Driving Rules

If you drink – then don’t drive!