Venue eyes nation's first gay wedding

By Anna Ferrick

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The manager of a converted church in Napier is hoping to host the first same-sex marriage in New Zealand when the bill becomes law on August 19.

General manager of the Old Church Restaurant Melanie Highnam has listed a wedding package worth over $10,000 on Trade Me following a spate of publicity around churches unwilling to host same-sex marriages.

"We've had quite a few civil unions in the past where the couple have wanted a traditional setting," Mrs Highnam said.

"We can provide that traditional setting but with a modern twist."

The Old Church Restaurant is a historic venue, built in 1863. In 2007 it was converted into a restaurant after being deconsecrated in 1972. Weddings have been held at the venue since 2008.

The package includes a midnight ceremony on August 19, catering, champagne and accommodation.

The wedding will be officiated by Bev Kerr, a local celebrant.

Mrs Highnam said she was fully supportive of the Marriage Amendment Bill passed in parliament.

"I just thought this would be a great opportunity to support it and to promote it."

The Trade Me auction has had over 500 views and almost 2000 on Facebook. Bidding on the auction starts at $6000.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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