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Sunday 09 April 2017


Lesley and Tee's Civil Union

Posted in: Weddings & Civil Unions
By Matt Akersten - 18th February 2010

Lesley Belcham and Tee Wells met through a mutual friend and have been together just over two years.

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Tee and Lesley on their special day
The couple's Civil Union in Mount Maunganui last month was a blast, Lesley tells us. "Perfect in every way!"

Lesley answered our questions about her and Tee's special day.


GayNZ.com: Did either of you propose? Where and how?

Lesley: Tee proposed to me - it was so romantic!

She had taken me to Rarotonga for a holiday to meet her family and friends. It was our last day in Raro so we decided to go for one last dip at Muri lagoon. Tee weaved a palm frond into a bracelet, which I thought was very cool and then proposed right there in the lagoon. We both love the ocean, so it was perfect!

How did your families react to the announcement of your Civil Union?

We introduced our parents over Skype, then surprised them all with the news.  Tee found it funny.

All in all both of our families were very supportive and treated it like any other family wedding.

How did the day go?

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The ceremony
We met everyone at the reception venue, Mt Maunganui Surf Club and got the formalities over with the fabulous Hone Paul as MC and Papa George doing the whakatau/mihi which was an absolute surprise and so awesome! Meanwhile we had fabulous food by Scottie of Swish cocktails.  

At this stage we were dressed in our brown casual outfits. Approaching sunset everyone strolled down the beach to the tip of Moturiki Island and waited for Tee and I to arrive. We in the meantime got changed into our beautiful whites.

The ceremony was held as the sun set. As we walked down the pathway (aisle) we were greeted (to our immense surprise as it was unexpected) by our wonderful Aunty Mabel welcoming us with a karanga because Moturiki is her whenua.  The moment was special and intense.  We had our closest friend Niwa marry us alongside our official celebrant, and then to our bewilderment, Niwa's father Wharehuia blessed the occasion with the most beautiful karakia.  It was like a dream come true.  We didn't plan for things to turn out so wonderfully, but the occasion became a reality of our wildest dreams.  We were blessed with many touching speeches and prayers. 

We held a sand ceremony as well as the traditional exchanging of rings. Then gave out glow sticks for everyone to walk back to the surf club with for dessert and party time! Once the guitar came out, that was it! The occasion was wonderfully international and beautiful.  

Tee: "It was the most romantic time of my life, and nothing will top it."

What was the best part of your civil union day?

All of it! It was so perfect! Having our families and friends around was great but for me the highlight was walking down the beach together alone before the ceremony. It was just us... OK, and the photographer!

The sun was about to set and what more can I say - the weather was beautiful, we looked great - it was everything we hoped and planned for!

Was there any stress?

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No, the wedding day was blissfully stress-free! Although I waited one and a half hours to get my champagne breakfast after my yoga class when I had my hen's party. I had a minor Bridezilla freak out that day! Tee got by on pure adrenalin and love from all the whanau. It was the coolest feeling ever to be in love and to be loved.  Gooey-as but true!

Did you have a Honeymoon?

Not yet, we are planning to go to Cuba next year.

Do you feel any differently now you're civil unioned?

Yes and No. The day to day stuff is the same but in a way there is an extra sense of security and suredness.

Since our ceremony, two more couples we know have gotten engaged to have their own unions!


Would you like to share your unique civil union day with GayNZ.com? Email us at gaynz@woosh.co.nz.


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Matt Akersten - 18th February 2010