“It is no small thing to create and perform ceremonies to celebrate, acknowledge or ease the important transitions in people’s lives. The Celebrant School does an outstanding job of preparing celebrants for this role. The course is comprehensive, well-designed and professional and the lecturers are truly amazing! The knowledge, experience and consummate commitment each brings to the role of training celebrants to create and deliver well-crafted, effective ceremonies is as inspiring as it is instructive, as were the wonderful class-mates I met during the Certificate of Celebrant Studies programme. Thank you all!” – Kathryn Rountree, Professor of Anthropology, specialising in Ritual and Ceremony

“Thank you once again for a wonderful learning experience, I am so grateful to have the opportunity to learn from such skilled and experienced tutors, who offer such amazing support and guidance. I have been empowered and affirmed throughout all of the training, and I would highly recommend The Celebrant School to anyone wanting to grow and evolve personally and professionally. I feel I have emerged from the training equipped with the tools, knowledge and support to move forward with confidence.” – Gayle Wiggett

“Attending the celebrant school for my training, has given me the confidence and the know how to successfully become a wedding and funeral celebrant. Without it, I would be floundering like a fish out of water” – Dawn Parkinson

“I’ve never looked back. The Celebrant School gave me the confidence to believe in myself. You inspired excellence within … and the satisfaction gained from a job well done. Each time I take a ceremony I give my heartfelt thanks for the Celebrant School having been established.”- Ros Russell

“I learnt a huge amount during the course: every aspect was relevant and helpful, including the necessity of diving deep within to find and build on inner resources, and the requirement to expand and grow by exploring areas of life/culture not familiar to me. Now I know there is a wealth of knowledge and experience, not to say wisdom, in this new community I have joined. I know too that there is support if I need it and lots of resources through the website.” – Sarah Smith

“The Celebrant School training provided me with an excellent grounding in celebrancy and gave great direction in preparing and carrying out ceremonies. It was very beneficial having experienced celebrants running the courses for their knowledge and insight into the small details that can make the difference between an average ceremony and a great ceremony.” – Felicity Murray

“Even today, every time I have a challenge in my celebrant life, I give thanks for the training and knowledge I received through the Celebrant School.” – Sheryl Mungall

“We explored meaning and the possibility of the celebrant role. I so valued the training. It provided a possible structure, and understanding of the importance and place of ceremony throughout the ages. It enabled us to experience the transformational possibility of ceremony. Also the opportunity to explore our biases so we began to be aware of them. It supported us to develop our own style.” – Rosemary Tredgold

“As we learnt about celebrancy, ritual and ceremony I found a new voice, one that I could use in those situations. I learnt to develop that in the supportive environment of our training”. – Sandy Carden

“Attending the Celebrant School in 2013 counts as one of the Top Ten highlights of my life. Why? The simple answer is because, as it always is, the people … We studied and practiced the art of being a celebrant – meeting with people, hearing and documenting their stories and weaving it all together to create and deliver a meaningful ceremony. The completed ceremonies and myriad resources I gathered during my year of study helped me kick-start my celebrant career with a confidence I would not have had otherwise.I loved every minute of my time with the school. I am really looking forward to undertaking post-grad study with the school as opportunities emerge.” – Kim Barnett

“The course certainly challenged me and opened me up to the world of ritual and how important rites of passage are.” – Trish Turner

“I cannot believe that I have gone beyond being a nurse, wife, mother of four and grandmother of six, to having my own business and absolutely loving it with a passion. I think I have the best job imaginable, and this all stems from attending the Celebrant School” – Belinda de Latour


The Certificate in Celebrant Studies was established in 1996 and was taught under the auspices of Auckland University of Technology, AUT, for the next twelve years. When AUT reviewed its strategic direction, the decision was made to cease teaching any course at less than degree level. The reputation of the celebrancy programme was by then well-established, so Mary set up The Celebrant School to continue the teaching, with the blessing and encouragement of both AUT and high-profile celebrants of the time, including Dame Cath Tizard, former Mayor of Auckland…

1 September, 2008

Private Bag 92006
Auckland 1020.NZ

T:+64 9 921 999
To whom it may concern,

This note is to support Mary Hancock who is establishing a qualification in Celebrant Studies at the Celebrant School. The AUT University has worked for many years with Mary with the AUT’s Certificate in Celebrant Studies. Mary has contributed many years of excellent work in the development and teaching of the certificate. AUT is no longer offering this qualification as it is primarily focusing on degree study.

Mary was very much the driving force behind the AUT Certificate and it is a qualification held in very high regard throughout New Zealand.
We wish Mary and the Celebrant School well with the future of the Celebrant Studies Certificate.

Acting Head Of School,

School of Communication Studies.

…and the rest, as they say, is history!

Mary Hancock

Celebrant School

The Celebrant School under the competent leadership of Mary Hancock, herself an experienced and well-regarded celebrant, offers a professional training certificate for those wishing to become civil celebrants. It provides as well, excellent on-going education for celebrants already working in the community. Such high calibre training is important as increasing numbers of people now want to use civil celebrants.

I am happy to give my support to Mary Hancock and wish the Celebrant School every success.

Hon. Dame Catherine Tizard ONC, DCMG, GCVO, DBE, QSO