Lonely Planet Writer

Same sex wedding boom: New Zealand becomes top destination for gay marriages from overseas

Statistics for 2016 have shown that New Zealand has become a popular place to get married among same-sex couples. It is particularly attractive to Australians, as same-sex marriage is not permitted in Australia at present.

Same sex couples are flocking to New Zealand to get married. Image: Hinterhaus Productions
Same-sex couples are flocking to New Zealand to get married. Image: Hinterhaus Productions

The figures for last year show that half of all same-sex marriages and civil unions registered in New Zealand last year were to couples living overseas. 483 resident couples and 471 overseas couples tied the knot there, compared with just 11% of heterosexual couples who travelled to New Zealand to get married. Overall, 19752 resident couples pledged their troth, while 2490 overseas couples celebrated opposite-sex marriages or civil unions.

New Zealand has become very popular for same sex couples getting married. Image: Robert Dodge
New Zealand has become very popular for same-sex couples getting married. Image: Robert Dodge

According to population statistics senior manager, Peter Dolan, 58% of the overseas same-sex couples were from Australia. It is attractive to them because New Zealand is close, welcoming and weddings are relatively cheap there.

Same sex couples are flocking to NZ to tie the knot. Image: Adam Hester
Same-sex couples are flocking to NZ to tie the knot. Image: Adam Hester

A further 17% of same-sex unions were to Chinese couples, and almost a quarter of the total couples had New Zealand ties. This is great news for New Zealand tourism as it means that the country is punching above its weight in attracting same-sex destination weddings.