Dominion Of New Zealand
: Japanese Fairy Tales
The Dominion of New Zealand is a colony of Great Britain consisting of
North, South and Stewart Islands, or New Zealand proper, and certain
outlying islands, including Cook Island, in the Pacific Ocean.
Its present form of government was established by an act of the Imperial
Parliament (15 and 16 Vict., cap. 27) passed in 1852.
The legislative power is vested in the governor and a bicamera General
Assembly or Parliament, consisting of a Legislative Council and a House of
Representatives. The constitution provides that the General Assembly or
Parliament may make laws "not repugnant to the laws of England."
The General Assembly, by an act passed in 1858, declared that: "Whereas,
the laws of England, as existing on the fourteenth day of June, 1840, have
been applied in New Zealand as far as applicable to the circumstances;
but, Whereas, doubt has arisen in respect to such application--Be it
declared and enacted, that the laws of England, as existing June 14, 1840,
be deemed and taken to have been in force on and after that day and shall
hereafter continue in force."
Hence it is apparent that the body of the law of New Zealand is founded
upon the jurisprudence of England.
The judicial system includes a Supreme Court of the Dominion, District
Courts and courts presided over by stipendiary magistrates.
MARRIAGE.--Males under fourteen years of age and females under twelve
years cannot contract a lawful marriage.
All persons, male or female, under twenty-one years of age, who have not
previously contracted a lawful marriage, require the consent of their
parents or guardians in order to marry. However, the marriage of males
fourteen years of age or more, or of females twelve years of age or more,
without the consent of parents or guardians, does not make such marriage
ipso facto void.
Parental consent to a marriage of a minor must be given by the father, if
living and competent to act; if not, then by the following persons in the
order stated: (a) the duly appointed guardian; (b) the mother if she has
not married again; (c) or a guardian specially appointed by a court
exercising chancery powers.
No person can contract a new marriage who has a spouse by an existing
marriage still living.
CONSANGUINITY AND AFFINITY.--Marriage is forbidden between all ascendants
and descendants ad infinitum and between persons related to each other
by blood or marriage within the third degree, according to the method of
computation of the civil law. According to this reckoning a person cannot
marry a relative nearer than his or her own first cousin.
PRELIMINARIES.--Notice of a proposed marriage must be given to the
registrar of the district in which one of the parties has resided for
three days at least. If the contracting parties live in different
districts notice must be given to the registrars of both districts. Such
notice must set forth the names, ages, status and occupations of each
party, together with their addresses, a statement of the period each party
has lived in the district, and the name and place of the church, chapel or
other building selected by the parties for the solemnization of the
marriage. The parties must also make solemn declaration to the registrar
or registrars to the truth of all statements of fact in said notice and
show that there is no legal impediment to the proposed marriage.
Upon receiving the notice in due form the registrar will issue a
certificate at once addressed to any officiating minister, or to himself,
authorizing the solemnization of the marriage. All marriages must be
registered, and the officiating minister or officer who fails to have the
record made is subject to punishment.
Ordinarily, the best proof of a marriage is to produce the marriage
certificate, together with proof identifying the parties, but if the
record is lost, destroyed or never existed proof of the marriage may be
given by direct oral evidence.
In most instances it is necessary to produce clear evidence of a marriage
ceremony, but in some exceptional cases a marriage may be proved by long
reputation. That is, if two persons live together as husband and wife for
many years, and if they have always been regarded as such by their friends
and neighbours, the courts will presume a legal marriage unless evidence
is produced to prove that the parties were not lawfully married.
DIVORCE.--An absolute divorce may be obtained according to the provisions
of the Divorce and Matrimonial Compilation Act of 1904 by a husband or
wife who has been domiciled in the Dominion of New Zealand for two years
or upwards on the following grounds:
1. Adultery of either spouse.
2. Wilful and continuous desertion without just cause for five years and
3. Habitual drunkenness for four years with habitual cruelty or desertion
on the part of the husband.
4. Habitual drunkenness for four years with habitual neglect of her
household duties on the part of the wife.
5. Conviction and sentence to imprisonment or to penal servitude for seven
years or upward for attempting to take the life of the petitioner.
ANNULMENT OF MARRIAGE.--A marriage is annulled on the theory that true and
proper consent to the marriage contract has never been given by the
parties. The causes or grounds for such annulment are:
1. A prior and existing marriage of one of the parties.
2. Impotency or such physical malformation of one of the parties which
prevents him or her from consummating the marriage by sexual intercourse.
3. Relationship of the parties within the forbidden degrees of
consanguinity or affinity.
4. That the marriage was procured by fraud or violence of one of the
5. Mistake as to identity.
6. That the marriage was performed without the required legal
7. Insanity of one of the parties at the time the marriage was solemnized.
Concerning the sixth cause the tendency of judicial interpretation and
construction is to treat the legal requirements concerning formalities to
be merely directory and to consider the marriage itself, if at least one
of the parties acted in good faith, to be valid.
The courts of New Zealand view many of the statutory requirements
concerning marriage to be necessary and proper regulations, and which, if
disregarded, subject certain persons to fixed penalties, but are not
necessarily essential to the marriage contract.
EFFECTS OF DIVORCE AND ANNULMENT.--The parties may remarry. During the
pendency of the suit for divorce the husband is liable to provide his wife
with maintenance or alimony. The amount granted is within the court's
discretion, but generally it is about twenty-five per centum of the
Upon the granting of a divorce decree in the wife's favour the court has
power to grant the wife permanent alimony, the amount of which depends on
all such facts as the husband's fortune and income, the wife's income and
needs and the social status of the parties.
If there are children under full age, the issue of the marriage, the court
will in the exercise of its discretion make such order concerning their
custody, support and education as the ends of justice may require.
JUDICIAL SEPARATION.--Under the Divorce and Matrimonial Compilation Act a
decree of judicial separation, which is the same in effect as a divorce
from bed and board under the old law, may be obtained by either spouse
upon the following grounds:
3. Desertion without just cause continued for two years.
SUMMARY JURISDICTION ACT.--Besides the ordinary suit for a judicial
separation a wife may obtain speedy and inexpensive relief by making an
application to a stipendiary magistrate for an order of separation and
The causes sufficient for the granting of such relief are:
A. Habitual drunkenness of the husband, coupled with habitual cruelty to,
or neglect of, the wife and family.
B. Desertion by the husband of his wife.
C. Habitual cruelty of the husband toward his wife.
D. Neglect of the husband to provide reasonable maintenance for his wife
and minor children.
A husband is entitled to summary relief permitting him a separation order
upon proof that his wife is an habitual drunkard who habitually neglects
her household duties.