Modern Family actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson with newlyweds
Ally Wanikau (left) and Lynley Bendall, of Auckland,
following their wedding on an Air New Zealand flight
between Queenstown and Auckland yesterday. Photo by Air New
Love was in the air yesterday when Auckland couple Lynley
Bendall and Ally Wanikau married on a special flight between
Queenstown and Auckland.
The couple, who have been together almost 14 years and have
children Javarn (9), Maycee (7), Mikaere (6) and Ally's son
Damon, were among the first in the country to wed the day
same-sex marriage in New Zealand became legal under the
Marriage Amendment Act.
Two gay couples also married in Dunedin yesterday morning.
Just after 9am, two local women tied the knot and at 11.30am,
two Dunedin men became husband and husband.
Ministry of Justice deputy registrar Brian Sceats said both
couples booked in and registered on Friday ahead of the law
Ms Bendall and Ms Wanikau were chosen by Air New Zealand from
video and written entries from across New Zealand.
They were married by the Rev Dr Kim Jewel Elliott, of
Auckland, in front of family, friends and Modern
Family actor and marriage equality campaigner Jesse Tyler
Ferguson and his husband, Justin Mikita, both of the United
States - also recently married.
Before the wedding, Ms Wanikau said it was a ''massive,
massive day for our kids and that next generation''.
Ms Bendall said the day ''meant the world for thousands of
''I am so proud to be a Kiwi - I think we've achieved so
Before boarding Air New Zealand's black A320 plane, Dr
Elliott said August 19, 2013, was ''a really important day
for New Zealanders''.
''From this day forth, every child will grow up knowing that
they can marry whoever they love, and that is an amazing
Rather than exchanging wedding bands, the couple exchanged
pounamu before being officially pronounced wife and wife at
Ferguson said it had been ''an absolute pleasure'' to
celebrate the ''historic and joyous moment'' with the
''Marriage equality is something very dear to both Justin and
me,'' he said.
Ms Bendall said the couple had waited a long time to make
their union official and she was ecstatic to be able to call
herself a newlywed.
Labour Party MP Louisa Wall, whose Bill to legalise same-sex
marriage was passed into law in April, said yesterday's
ceremonies were what all her hard work had been about.
''Until this point in time, it's all been theoretical,
debating about what this might mean, and I think today we've
seen exactly what it's all about: celebration of family,
friends, commitment and love.''
But there was still much to do to get equality for the
lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community,
''There's been a philosophical analysis about this being
about Western liberalism and not about universal human rights
for all human beings. And I think the push back from
countries like Russia really needs to be challenged