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Dally Messenger III remains one of the most influential   Marian Barnes formed the first structured group, the
               leaders of celebrancy in the western world. He was   Civil Celebrants Association of New Zealand (CCANZ)
               appointed as a civil celebrant in Australia in early   on 1 August 1980, but it only survived for two years.
               1974 and has been a friend and mentor to celebrants   Even so, their newsletter Lifetimes was the major
               throughout New Zealand and in particular to this   channel of communication for celebrants at that time,
               organisation – the Celebrants’ Association of New   reaching about 80 members nationally.
               Zealand (CANZ). His books Ceremonies for Today
               (1979) and Ceremonies and Celebration (2003, recently   The Canterbury Civil Celebrants Association was
               reprinted) have comprised the accepted authority for   formed later in the 1980s and met twice each year. It
               many celebrants, past and present.                last hosted a conference in 1998 with most of those in
                                                                 attendance from the South Island. The group preferred
               During those early years, from the late 1970s through   to retain the word civil in their name.
               the 1980s and into the 1990s, most independent
               celebrants operated in isolation. There was no formal   Wellington had a small network of celebrants which
               training offered and very little official structure or   met under the guidance of Rodney Murphy.
               guidance. Most civil celebrants were self-taught, and   In Hamilton, the local registrar of Births, Deaths and
               relied heavily on their own personal experiences and   Marriages (BDM) conducted meetings for marriage
               abilities to get by.                              celebrants during the 1990s but there was no formal

               From the 1980s, groups of independent celebrants   association.
               around New Zealand had begun to gather together                    In 1997, Eddie McMenemy
               informally to network, share and socialise. Most were              called a meeting in Auckland, as
               marriage celebrants, although there were also a few                did Mary Hancock in Titirangi.
               who only officiated at funerals.                                   These meetings, together with

               These groups were mainly to be found in population                 a larger one at the Ellerslie
               centres such as Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and                 racecourse, became the nucleus
               Christchurch.                                                      for the founding of the Auckland
                                                                                  Celebrants’ Association, which
                                                                                  opted not to use the word civil in
                                                                 Eddie McMenemy
                                                                                  the name.

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