Modern New Zealand couples follow Western-style rules and traditions when they get engaged and married. But in the past, there were specific engagement customs in New Zealand. And the main rule was to get the blessing and permission for the wedding from the tribal elders. Unless you were allowed to wed, there could be no marriage. What else engagement traditions can we find in New Zealand? Were there arranged marriages? And what unique engagement customs or rituals are in this country today?
A lot of couples were formed by the community elders or parents, no matter if love sprang between the man and the woman. Some weddings were arranged so that the two tribes became allies. On frequent occasions, after a war between two tribes for the territory, the winners married members of the defeated tribe to strengthen the ties between the two communities and the hold of the conquered land. So, marriages were often a way to make alliances rather than a union of two souls in love.
Of course, marriages between two people who loved each other and wanted their happily ever after happened as well. Inside a tribe or between two tribes. But such marriages weren’t the rule. And for them to happen, the potential bride and groom absolutely needed, as we’ve said, the blessing of the elders.
At some point during New Zealand history (around the 19th century), arranged marriages between wealthy families were popular. Just like in many other countries around the world, like Great Britain, Italy, America, Turkey, and so many more. They also served to create alliances, gain riches, and maintain the status of a family.
Today, men and women in New Zealand are a lot freer in their choice of spouse. Though arranged marriages still occur, most people choose to wed the person they fall in love with. And modern New Zealand engagement traditions are very much like those of Europe and America. The fiance pops the question, gives an engagement ring to his honey, and they celebrate their engagement with family and friends.
New Zealand grooms and brides have bachelor and bachelorette parties as well. But while bachelor parties are no different from the same events organized throughout the Western world, bachelorette parties are rather unique and interesting. They are called the “Kitchen Tea”. The bride and her female relatives and friends get together, party, and discuss her future kitchen. They decide what utensils and machines her kitchen needs, make a list of them, and later present the couple with these items.
After the Kitchen Tea party, the wedding is organized.