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               There was an overwhelming sense that there needed to be
               a unified approach to standards throughout the country,
               especially as at that time, celebrants were not well
               supported by the office of  the Registrar-General.

            A Call to Action

            The 1999 conference for celebrants was the brainchild   The organising committee comprised Yvonne
            of Hamilton celebrant Yvonne Foreman. It was to   Foreman, Denise Irvine, Ron Ball, Paul Flanagan, Tommy
            pave the way for the later formation of the Celebrants’   Moana, Annie McGregor and Shelley Robb. The stated
            Association of New Zealand (CANZ).                aims of the conference were to:

                                                              •   establish a national association of civil celebrants
                                                              •   put in place a code of ethics and a code
                                                                  of practice

                                                              •   bring together individual celebrants for the
                                                                  purpose of education, training, networking
                                                                  and friendship.

                                                              Since 1996, Mary Hancock had been leading courses
                                                              in celebrant studies at the Auckland Institute of
                                                              Technology (AIT) – soon to be the Auckland University
                                                              of Technology (AUT). Mary agreed to speak and
            Yvonne Foreman (left), Dally Messenger and Mary Hancock  provided Yvonne with the names of other possible
                                                              presenters, as well.
            Yvonne became a marriage celebrant in the mid
            1990s. After reading in the NZ Women’s Weekly that   Dame Catherine Tizard – former mayor of Auckland
            Canterbury celebrants were to host a conference in   and Governor General of New Zealand – opened the
            1998, she decided to attend – as did fellow Hamilton   conference. Mary Hancock and Dally Messenger III
            celebrant Rei Hagan. Taken together with Yvonne’s   were the keynote speakers. Other invited speakers
            business venture (Six Hats Ltd) which ran conferences,   were Registrar-General Brian Clarke, writer and
            this was the catalyst which prompted her to propose   broadcaster Hilary Hudson, counsellor and funeral
            a nationwide conference for celebrants in July 1999, at   celebrant Bill Logan and Cyril Schäfer, a PhD student
            the Kingsgate Hotel, Hamilton. (The venue still exists   in Social Anthropology. (Regrettably, Mr Schäfer was
            but is now known as the Distinction Hamilton Hotel &   unable to attend owing to the sudden death of his
            Conference Centre.)                               father, but gave permission for his presentation to be
                                                              included in the proceedings.)
            With some reluctance, Brian Clarke, then Registrar-
            General of BDM, was persuaded to furnish her with a   Two hundred celebrants from all over New Zealand
            list of civil celebrants, so that a questionnaire could be   attended, the greatest number coming from Auckland,
            sent out to determine if there was any interest – there   the Bay of Plenty and Wellington, together with a few
            was lots!                                         from Christchurch.

       12   CANZ From the Beginning – a history of the Celebrants’ Association of New Zealand
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