This unidentified couple, photographed in the 1840s, are believed to be the first Māori couple to be married in a Christian church. At this time there was no New Zealand-specific statute governing marriages, and church registers were the major way of recording unions. State registration of marriages began after 1848, but the process was patchy and sporadic and only became common practice after the Marriage Act 1854 was implemented in 1856. It applied only to non-Māori. However, a number of Māori, like this couple, chose to marry in church and formally record their marriages.
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Reference: PhotoCD 15, IMG0080
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