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!

New Zealand Lifestyle: Helpful Advice of the Kiwi Way

  • New Zealand Lifestyle

    Culture Shock

    Culture shock is the term used to describe the feeling of anxiety that a person can experience after they have moved into an entirely new environment.

  • New Zealand Lifestyle

    Legal Matters

    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.

  • New Zealand Lifestyle

    Practical Matters

    New Zealand is a modern democratic country in which human rights are protected. It is illegal to discriminate on grounds such as race, religion or ethnicity. Complaints about discrimination should be made to the Human Rights Commission office.

  • New Zealand Lifestyle

    New Zealand Slang

    New Zealand slang has developed over time from such a diverse mixture of backgrounds that it is sometimes difficult to establish exactly what phrases and slang words are originally from New Zealand!

  • New Zealand Lifestyle

    New Zealand Leisure

    New Zealand’s national sport is rugby. However, New Zealanders also participate in a full range of other sporting activities - often with considerable success at international level.

  • New Zealand Lifestyle

    Social Events & Protocol

    At dinner parties it is customary for guests to bring a bottle of wine. It is also common, but not obligatory, to ask "Is there anything I can bring?" Often, the hosts will decline the offer.

  • New Zealand Lifestyle

    Social Values

    New Zealanders have a very similar way of life and share values common to most Western countries but there are some special features. ‘Kiwis’ are passionate about sport and have a firm belief in social equality.

  • New Zealand Lifestyle


    New Zealand has good air, train and bus links, schedules are available at most Information Centres.

  • New Zealand Lifestyle

    Becoming A Kiwi

    The first Polynesian settlers, the Maori, arrived in New Zealand in the 10th century and named it Aotearoa Land of the Long White Cloud. By the 12th century, there were scattered settlements in favored parts of the country.

  • New Zealand Lifestyle

    Arriving in New Zealand

    New Zealand has strict laws to protect its agricultural industries from imported pests and diseases. If you bring in items such as food and plants, these must be declared to Customs officials.

  • New Zealand Lifestyle

    Before Leaving Home

    Moving to a new country brings with it both challenges and opportunities. Many aspects of life in your new home will be different from what you are accustomed to.