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18 Aug 2014
New South Wales couple Paul McCarthy and Trent Kandler celebrated their first anniversary in Wellington, having made history as the first Australian same sex couple to marry in New Zealand.
Over 230 Australian same sex couples have married in New Zealand since it became legal on Monday 19 August 2013, with 12% of those happening in the nation’s capital.
Some 120 same sex marriages have occurred in Wellington since the law change, with at least 29 of those being Australian couples.
Paul and Trent were winners of Positively Wellington Tourism (PWT) and Tourism New Zealand’s ‘Make History’ competition, which celebrated the law change and showcased the city and country as a trans-Tasman wedding destination for all.
“It was an empowering experience to have been welcomed by the community of Wellington with such genuine enthusiasm,” Paul says. “It was abundantly clear that the people of Wellington believed in our right to be wed and that is an affirmation that will always be with us.”
The couple will be staying in the same room at Museum Art Hotel as during their wedding and would be celebrating with dinner at Hippopotamus restaurant, overlooking Te Papa where they wed a year ago.
“I remember walking through the city on our way to the reception and having complete strangers cheer us and come up and wish us well. A whole table of people at an outdoor cafe clapped us,” recalls Paul.
“We would not have wanted to celebrate our anniversary anywhere else than Wellington. It is the city that taught us that it wasn’t just a legal right for a same sex marriage to occur, but that all marriages are to be celebrated.”
PWT Chief Executive David Perks said it meant a lot that the couple had opted to celebrate their first anniversary in the capital.
“The fact Paul and Trent have chosen to celebrate in Wellington is a real reflection on all of the people involved in putting together their special day,” Mr Perks says.
“While Make History was a competition and an opportunity to showcase our forward-thinking and beautiful city, ultimately it came down to a personalised and special celebration and recognition of love between two people."
“We wish Paul and Trent a long and happy marriage and hope to see them back for many more anniversaries.”
Same sex marriages in New Zealand and Wellington from 19/8/13 to 23/7/14
(Source: Department of Internal Affairs)
Total same sex marriages in NZ
Total same sex marriages in Wgtn
No. of Australian same sex couples married in NZ
No. of Australian same sex couples married in Wgtn