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Good news for Kiwi couple who had same-sex wedding in Cook Islands cancelled twice

It's a case of third time lucky with a little help from Fair Go for a same-sex couple who won a wedding ceremony in the Cook Islands only to have it cancelled twice.

Ali McWatters and Tracey Strachan entered a competition at a wedding expo in January for a dream wedding at the Edgewater resort in the Cook Islands.

They won, but there was no mention in the rules that same sex-marriage is illegal in the Cook Islands, so they couldn't claim the prize.

After Fair Go got in touch with Edgewater, the programme had some good news - not a wedding, but an affirmation ceremony was offered.

After that story went to air, the couple were told the religious council in the Cook Islands was not happy with the prize being reinstated. 

Same-sex marriage isn't legal in the Cook Islands, leaving Tracey Strachan and Ali McWatters in limbo. Source: Fair Go

"I was summoned to appear before our paramount chief and the elders of the village to discuss the story aired on the Fair Go program. The offer of the affirmation ceremony is no longer available," the resort wrote in an email to Ms McWatters and Ms Strachan.

Edgewater resort did then offer the couple a feast for 30 guests and an accommodation package, but the gloss had well and truly been taking off the prize.

So Fair Go has organised a wedding for the couple and their family and friends, not in the Cook Islands but in Hawaii, and gave the couple the good news at Old St Paul's in Wellington on last night's programme.

Air New Zealand has come to the party with return air fares to Honolulu for the couple, and House of Travel has chipped in with seven nights accommodation at Waikiki.  The Best Hawaii Wedding is offering the wedding ceremony in October, with photography and a local musician.

"That's going to be fantastic. I can't believe everybody's generosity. Nobody had to do this. Bloody hell!" Ms McWatters said.

Her partner Ms Strachan said: "That's unbelievable. It's just amazing. This is an absolute dream come true. Wow!"

Winning their dream wedding has turned into something of a nightmare for Ali McWatters and Tracey Strachan. Source: Fair Go


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