Ministeroni makes New Zealand history
Karen Martyn has claimed a unique part of New Zealand history - she is our first ever "Ministeroni".
Martyn is the only person in the country to be legally recognised as a marriage celebrant for the The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
The religion came into the mainstream culture in 2005 after their prophet Bobby Henderson exposed what he considered to be a hidden fact - the world was actually created by a flying spaghetti monster.
The religion's followers are called Pastafarians and they often dress in pirate regalia because they believe pirates were created by thier god. They wear colanders on their heads to mark special events.
And while Christians may have communion, Pastafarians have pasta to remember thier deity.
Martyn reckons it is the fastest growing religion in the world, and her legal title now means she can marry people in a "pasta-ific" way.
The Wellington-based celebrant, whose official title is now "Ministeroni", will travel and perform ceremonies across New Zealand.
"It's great. It is really powerful for the church and the community. It gives us far more choices. Prior to that we only had a registrar or independent celebrants," she said.
Although she hasn't had the chance to wed a couple wanting to tie the noodley knot since the Department of Internal Affairs gave her the green light in December, she said there is a lot of interest from around the country.
She said she would not charge for her services, but will expect her travel to be paid for.
In traditional New Zealand fashion the Kiwi branch of the church is far more progressive than the rest of the world.
For example, in most other countries the Flying Spaghetti Monster is considered to be male, whereas in New Zealand the deity is gender neutral.
"There is no worship involved in our religion. No dogma is one of our doctrines. We are into leading a high quality life. We are into happiness and pleasure and joy," she said.
Martyn, who holds down a full time job on top of her religious duties, said she understands why some people don't take take her seriously.
"I don't mind, all religions can be laughed at and challenged. The ones who openly scoff and are mean are disrespectful."
"I just kind of have to very gently say, hang on, all religions deserve the same respect. If you can mock others, you can mock mine. But if you are going to act if like mine is any different then that's not fair."
Registrar-general of births, deaths and marriages Jeff Montgomery said the application was approved under a sub-section of the Marriages Act, satisfying the registrar-general that the principal object of the organisation was to uphold or promote religious beliefs, philosophical or humanitarian convictions.
"A review of media and the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster's international website show a consistent presentation of their philosophies. While some claim this is a 'parody organisation', members have rebutted this on a number of occasions."