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Australia’s first gay married couple mark 10th anniversary

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They recently celebrated their tenth wedding anniversary – the year of tin. 

Searching for the perfect gift to mark the occasion involved a shopping trip in Wellington, New Zealand – a place that has become a second home. 

Like most Australian couples on an overseas holiday, after they’d settled on a pair of matching rings, what followed was the obligatory happy snaps taken at some of the country’s most iconic landmarks. 

Afterall, this was not the first time they’d travelled to the land of the long white cloud. 

A decade earlier, Paul and Trent had become the first Australian gay couple to marry in New Zealand. 

same sex marriage
Newcastle men Trent and paul were married in New Zealand in 2013. Photo: WellingtonNZ

The date was August 19, 2013, more than four years before Australia would legally recognise same-sex marriages. 

Before their home country had asked its people to vote on marriage equality, Tourism New Zealand launched a competition to see which Australian same-sex couple would be one of the first to get married in New Zealand.  

Newcastle couple Paul and Trent were the lucky winners. 

“I was on Facebook just scrolling through and I came across an ad in my stream that you could get married in New Zealand because they were changing their laws,” Trent explains. 

“We had talked about getting married many times before, but I just looked across at Paul and said, ‘hey, do you want to get married?’” 

The competition was closing that night at midnight… and it was already late. 

The pair got their entry in just in time. 

Australia’s first married gay couple. Photo: WellingtonNZ

“We were really rushed to try and get it done,” Trent told the Newcastle Weekly

“You had to say in 25 words or less why you should be chosen to be the people getting married, so Paul came up with an idea.” 

The Hunter veterinary and teacher used a thesaurus to list words that meant marriage, paired with the names of New Zealand cities and towns. 

“Like get hitched in Hastings, and married in Masterton,” explains Paul. 

Their entry was successful and, on Monday 19 August 2013 they wed at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington. 

“New Zealand are always ahead of us,” laughs Paul. 

“Women got the vote there first, then there’s their Indigenous rights – they had a signed treaty with the Maori people…politically they are a forward-thinking country.” 

Paul and Trent appeared on the fourth season of Lego Masters Australia.

Lego Masters 

Fast-forward nine years and the pair appeared on the fourth season of Nine’s popular series Lego Masters Australia. 

“That was a lot of fun,” Trent says. 

“We both love Lego so being a part of the show was a fantastic experience for us.” 

Being immortalised in coloured plastic had even featured in their wedding theme. 

“I think they (the competition organisers) were very excited to make it (the wedding) a big rainbow theme, being, gay pride, and we had to explain very nicely that we’re, we’re not that sort of gay,” he added. 

“We asked to have it toned down a little bit and we said we were hoping to have some Lego themes throughout. 

“It was wonderful, the cake they gave us had two little Lego men on top and the all the stationary was done with Lego.  

“And their photographers, who were just beautiful people, were so excited about the theme, they had got these like Lego heads out of plastic so they could have these shadow photos of us looking like Lego mini figures and we had gifted everyone coming to the wedding, we had gifted to them.” 

New Zealand
The pair has returned to New Zealand several times since their wedding in August 2013. Photo: WellingtonNZ

Returning to NZ 

Trent and Paul returned to New Zealand to celebrate their first wedding anniversary in 2014. 

They returned in 2018 for their fifth milestone.

Last week it was their 10-year anniversary, and you guessed it, they returned to New Zealand.

“it’s our anniversary home of choice,” Paul says.

“We do love the place so much, we’ve seen a lot of New Zealand now.” 

Narrowing down their favourite spot in the neighbouring country, it seems is near on impossible. 

“I’d say Wellington,” says Trent. 

“It’s an amazing place, but Queenstown, that city is spectacular. 

“I’m a big fan of Napier because there was an earthquake in the thirties and it destroyed the city so they had to rebuild and because of the time everything in the city was built in art deco style. 

“It has one of the largest amounts of art deco architecture in a small city. 

“It also has epic wineries and scenery, and there’s ski fields there.

“We just got back from Auckland yesterday, we caught a train called the Northern Explorer. 

“It runs from Wellington to Auckland, but it goes over the mountains so we have these wonderful pictures of snow on the mountains and these beautiful gorges. 

“And, as you know, everywhere you turn in New Zealand, there’s another better view.”

With such extensive experience travelling in New Zealand, it’s a wonder the pair hasn’t been recruited.

“Ohhh, the next gay Travel Guides – in New Zealand,” Paul jokes.

“Yes. If any of the TV shows are watching, we are available.”

Celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary in Wellington. Photo: WellingtonNZ

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