|Jennifer Josef, ILGA-ASIA|
|Jennifer Josef, ILGA-ASIA|
TV One weatherman Tamati Coffey and his partner Tim Smith have shared a detailed account of their recent civil union in a magazine cover story, which describes the event as their "wild wedding".
The couple entered after a dance by Buckwheat, Tess and the showgirls to a medley from Sister Act 2, after which the pair danced down a pink carpet to We Are Family, while on their mothers' arms.
NZWW reports the 40 minute ceremony featured moving speeches from several of Coffey and Smith's gay and lesbian coupled friends, who spoke about what love means to them. It says the event also included a pop-up band playing The Beatles' All You Need Is Love, plus "tower of balls" wedding cakes.
Coffey told the magazine he is aware there will be some who disagree with his decision to legalise his relationship with his same-sex partner, but pointed out the gay community disagrees just as strongly with the fact that same-sex couples can't get married in New Zealand.
"At the moment we have this second-class citizen thing called a 'civil union' ... as much as I wanted to wait for us to be able to marry as the rest of society do, I'll take the current option, as life's too short."
NZWW Deputy Editor Catherine Milford confirms the story is the first New Zealand celebrity civil union cover story the magazine has run, however she says it did buy exclusive rights to the pictures of Elton John and David Furnish's wedding at the time.
"In our mind there was never any doubt this would be our cover story. Tamati Coffey is a hugely popular TV celebrity, and he is well-known among our readers," she says.
"The week before we ran the Tamati and Tim story, we covered with All Black Ali Williams' wedding - in our minds, both magazines celebrated a huge event in the lives of very popular Kiwis.
While we were aware that not all our readers would see this in the same light, it's our responsibility as a national magazine not to show discrimination of any sort, I believe."
Milford says there has been quite a lot of feedback so far, and it's only been a day.
"Our demographic is for women 35+, and we have a high level of readership in rural areas. We did expect a degree of pushback, and yesterday we lost two subscribers who cited us featuring Tamati and Tim's wedding as the reason they were cancelling their subscription," she says.
"However, the positive feedback has far outweighed the negative, which I see as an excellent step forward for both the magazine and for New Zealand.
"As I have said, both in my editorial this week and on our Facebook page, New Zealand has had more than its fair share of disasters and tragedy of late. To celebrate success, joy, love and loyalty at a time when such sentiments are all too scarce is, I believe, what makes NZWW the success it is today. The magazine celebrates our 80th anniversary this year – it seems only fitting that after so many years, we are still breaking boundaries and bringing the stories that make a difference to our readers to the fore."
The story is in the latest edition of the New Zealand Woman's Weekly which is in stores now.