This couple's happy to go against the trend

00:00, Feb 05 2014
Madeleine O'Connor and Jonathan Phillips
ENGAGED: Madeleine O'Connor and Jonathan Phillips are looking forward to getting married.

Despite latest Census results showing more couples are calling it quits in Nelson, Jonathan Phillips and Madeleine O'Connor are bucking the trend.

Mr Phillips, of Christchurch and Madeleine O'Connor, of Appleby, met through a mutual friend shortly before the Christchurch earthquakes.

The Nelson Intermediate teacher said he decided he wanted to marry the Nelson Hospital nurse "because he liked it, so he put a ring on it".

The growing rate of marriage in Tasman could be attributed to the high amount of home ownership and people wanting to "settle down".

Married people also loved to shop, he said.

"Now there is KMart and such great shopping outlets, it is no wonder people want to move there. It is a perfect mix of residential, with a touch of the big city."


Meanwhile, he said Nelson's growing rate of divorce, separations and spouse deaths was because Nelson had an ageing population.

"It is clearly New Zealand's Miami. People come to Nelson to retire and they probably fall in love with others and flee the roost as a consequence."

He thought marriage had increasingly lost its cache in society.

"It seems the fiasco of a wedding ceremony disillusions people so they think marriage will feel dramatically different from de facto life."

Couples might not know what to do with themselves once "the party was over and business was usual".

But Mr Phillips had faith in marriage, saying his life with "his belle would stand the test of time".

Meanwhile, Miss O'Connor said the couple were not just getting married for the party.

"I do not necessarily think you have to get married to validate your relationship but it is nice to show your commitment to someone in front of your most cherished friends and family."

Being a nurse, she worked with a lot sick people who were doted on by their spouses.

"That is when you see love. It is about sharing the good times and the bad times."

Unlike the generations of yesteryear who fought for gender equality and status despite marriage, she noticed an increased number of people in her demographic wanting to get married.

It was like a renaissance where people went back to traditional values to achieve a nuclear family.

Kaiteriteri wedding and event organiser Terri Everett said she was seeing a growing number of people wanting to have an experience rather than the traditional "flashy" wedding.

It was understandable that the region had the highest number of marriages because of the beautiful scenery and climate.

"We live in such a lovely place. You can do nothing but smile at your partner and get married."

Nelson had a more metropolis feel, she said. "I think if you choose to live in a city and lead a stressful lifestyle this could put great pressure on a relationship."

The Nelson Mail