17 Aug 2013

Couples prepare for first same-sex weddings

8:24 am on 17 August 2013

The number of marriage forms downloaded from the Department of Internal Affairs website this week has been three times higher than normal in the lead up to same-sex couples being able to legally wed.

Legislation allowing same-sex marriage was passed by Parliament in April but a four month wait was written in so the necessary changes could be made to forms, certificates and computer systems.

Same-sex couples can marry from Monday.

Some 977 forms were downloaded in four days this week.

Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages Jeff Montgomery says there has been a phenomenal amount of interest from overseas, with 156 couples applying before arriving in the country.

He says a large number of the international applications have been from Australia, where same-sex marriages are not yet available.

Mr Montgomery says 31 same-sex couples from Auckland, Manukau, Wellington, Christchurch and Rotorua have expressed their intention to get married on Monday, which is usually the quietest day of the week.

He says regional figures won't be available until next week because of Friday's earthquake.