First gay Aussies to wed in New Zealand celebrate 10th anniversary


Trent and Paul, first gay Aussies to marry in New Zealand 10 years ago
Image: Instagram

Australian couple Paul and Trent won a competition to be the first gay Aussies to marry in New Zealand, and have just celebrated their tenth anniversary.

On August 19, 2013, New Zealand officially legalised same-sex marriage. A decade on, around 4,100 same-sex couples have registered marriages, according to Stats NZ.

The first Aussies to do so were Paul and Trent, who you might recognise from Nine’s Lego Masters last year.

The couple entered a competition run by Tourism New Zealand offering Aussies the first chance at a dream Kiwi wedding, years before Australia passed marriage equality over here.

“We wanted to get married for a long time. But it didn’t seem to be something that was possible for us,” Trent recalled in an interview with Nine.

“Then it became possible through New Zealand. For us to have been together for 10 years as a married couple is so special for both of of us.”

The couple, who’ve been together for 21 years, were back in Wellington to celebrate the anniversary on Saturday (August 19).

Trent and Paul entered the New Zealand wedding competition “at the last minute” and it was an anxious wait to see if they’d won.

“The phone rang, I picked it up. I said, ‘Am I getting married?’ and on the other end of the phone she just said, ‘Yep!'” Paul said.

“I burst into tears… I think Trent was actually the last person to know.”

‘People came up to us and congratulated us’

Couple Paul and Trent went on to wed at the Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa, in Wellington on August 19, 2013.

The wedding went ahead despite earthquakes around Wellington before they arrived.

“We had a beautiful violinist that was in the New Zealand Symphonic, and she played this lovely song about hidden love,” Paul told Nine.

“I walked up the stairs with my bridesmaids, and my mother was there to see me down the aisle.

“She held my hand, and I could tell she was shaking. She said, ‘Is it me shaking, or is it you?’

“I said, ‘Mum, as long as it’s not the ground shaking, we’re all okay!'”

Paul recalled, “Wellington couldn’t have been more welcoming and accepting.

“Because our story had been in the news, people came up to us and congratulated us, people clapped and cheered.

“It was quite a surreal experience, that degree of love from total strangers.

“We went back for our first anniversary, and people recognised us. It was so wonderful. New Zealand is like our second home now.”

4,100 same-sex weddings in New Zealand since 2013

Stats NZ said that ten years on from marriage quality, New Zealand has registered around 4,100 same-sex marriages to residents since the law change began.

Between August 19, 2013, and the end of 2022, around 2,700 female couples and 1,400 male couples living in New Zealand legally married.

Over the same period, another 1,600 female couples and 1,200 male couples from overseas visited New Zealand for weddings.

Since 2013, same-sex marriages made up 12 percent of overseas couples marrying in New Zealand. Up until Australia legalised same-sex marriage in 2017, most were Aussies – an average of 58 percent of those overseas couples.

That proportion more than halved – to 26 per cent – after Australia passed marriage equality on December 9, 2017, but following the pandemic rose again in 2021 and 2022.

For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

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