Some things don't change. Not at the core, where it really counts. Most people want a committed partner; a husband or wife, a companion, a lover, and a friend in one package. Whatever a good relationship looks like to you, chances are it's not always easy to achieve.
Marriage Guidance began offering couples support and information to build and sustain satisfying relationships as early as 1949. Over 60 years later our counselling and information services are still available in New Zealand communities. These days we're called Relationships Aotearoa.
If you're looking for counselling, click here to go to the contact information for Relationships Aotearoa offices.
If you're looking for information about relationships, click this link to go to our relationships section.
If you're not sure whether counselling is what you want, click this link here to find out more about what counselling might offer you.
If you're looking for information about our history, there is a brief summary below.
This link will give you an article about the history drawn from the memories of Esther Hall, one of the first generation of Marriage Guidance counsellors. This was written by Ruth Penny with David Epston and Margaret Agee. It was published in the NZAC Journal in 2009.
Marriage Guidance in New Zealand
From its beginnings in 1949, Marriage Guidance grew and transformed itself as it sought to support satisfying relationships in our communities. It evolved from a network run by a large and energetic voluntary membership to a national organization with an employed workforce. And it changed its name from Marriage Guidance, first to MG, then in 1994, to Relationship Services and in 2012, to Relationships Aotearoa.
Over the years, many New Zealanders have been part of Marriage Guidance. Lots of people volunteered first to train and then to offer counselling and education programmes to people in their communities. This section provides a brief overview of the volunteer era of Marriage Guidance. (For more detail, read MG Reflecting : a portrait of Marriage Guidance New Zealand, 1949 to 1989 by Jennifer M. Daly. You may be able to locate a copy in the reference section of your library.)
Reverend E.P. Blamires promoted beginning a Marriage Guidance organisation in New Zealand. He had seen it operating in Britain, and been impressed. The post war shock that affected families in England was strong in New Zealand as well. Many families and relationships were struggling.
Church communities had a strong presence in the early Marriage Guidance Councils in New Zealand. They saw a lot of the distress from relationships under pressure and wanted to offer some practical support. Many legal professionals also became involved as they saw difficult divorces coming through the courts.
The early service had a strong emphasis on education, offering people an opportunity to discuss sexual and relationships issues often not spoken about. Counselling services also developed early on. Marriage Guidance developed extensive training programmes to ensure their counsellors and tutors provided appropriate services. It was one of the main sources of counselling training in New Zealand as the profession developed.
Marriage Guidance services developed as our laws relating to marriage and divorce changed. As the law sought to encourage separating couples to try counselling, Marriage Guidance provided the counselling service people used.
Today Relationships Aotearoa continues to provide counselling on behalf of the Family Court. This is a service for couples considering separation or divorce, and for those looking at arrangements for their children after separation.
Marriage Guidance had a long tradition of advocacy to government about the laws and social policies that stress or support relationships and families. This is a tradition that Relationships Aotearoa continues today, actively promoting policies that encourage healthy relationships.
Some things haven't changed. It began as a community organisation and it remains one. It's still about helping people in our communities to enjoy healthy relationships. Those relationships might have looked a little different in 1949 than they do in the early 21st century, but they are still very important in most people's lives. Research done in 2005 by Relationships Aotearoa showed that overall life satisfaction is closely related to satisfaction in your marriage, or partner relationship.
So if you are looking to increase your satisfaction with your relationship, you might find the Relationships Aotearoa website is a good place to begin.