Thousands of feet up in the air, Auckland couple Lynley
Bendall and Ally Wanikau became one of the first same sex
couples in New Zealand to be legally wed this morning after
taking off from Queenstown.
The couple exchanged pounamu necklaces instead of rings after
pledging their commitment and love for one another in front
of their family, friends and swathe of media on board an Air
New Zealand flight from Queenstown.
Cheers, applause and whistles erupted as the celebrant, Kim
Jewel Elliot, proclaimed: "You are married!''. The champagne
then started flowing and stewardesses handed out canapes.
Modern Family star and marriage equality advocate Jesse Tyler
Fergusson, who also recently married, was a guest at the
ceremony and toasted the newlyweds at the reception in a
hangar at Auckland Airport.
Ms Bendall said the whole morning had been "overwhelming''
but was clearly extremely pleased to finally be able to marry
her partner of 14 years.
"It's the fact we're finally equal,'' she said.
After cutting their rainbow cake and tossing their bouquets
from a ladder next to the black plane, Ms Bendall and Ms
Wanikau celebrated with their loved ones. As part of Air NZ's
wedding package, the couple will have their honeymoon in Palm
The couple won the Love is in the Air competition after their
three young children made a video about why their wanted
their mums to be married.