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
br /> 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

husband's income.

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:

1. Adultery.

2. Cruelty.

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.