Immigration officials failed in an attempt to deport a 60-year-old man who they believed paid a woman to marry him for residence after just 11 days of the first meeting.
The Chinese man, 60, met the woman, 79, online. It all began after an introduction by the son of man, who knew the woman through his church.
She is a New Zealand citizen widow who came from China two decades ago to join her children.
Immigration New Zealand (INZ) refused the man's application for residence, and attempted to deport him.
The couple told INZ that they communicated through social media and had the experience of life to know what they wanted from a relationship.
They said that the $ 10,000 payment he made to her was to cover her living expenses and immigration applications.
Her health conditions meant she could not join him in China if he were deported, but INZ was not satisfied that it was a genuine relationship.
However, the Immigration and Protection Court overturned the deportation.
He said it is unusual for the couple to have decided to marry a few days after starting to communicate via WeChat, but translations of their communications revealed genuine tenderness and mutual respect.
"Marriage before living together was also important to them, according to their age and traditional conservative perspective," their lawyers told the court.
His communications did not suggest that the money he sent was an agreed price for a marriage.
The court said they had been living together for more than two years and had been granted a 12-month work visa so that their residency petition could be finalized.
The decision can be found here.