Claire Trevett

Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor.

Piha Beach a long way from Taupo cafe for old flames

Paula Bennett toned and Alan Philps first met at a truck stop in the late 1980s.  Photo / Supplied
Paula Bennett toned and Alan Philps first met at a truck stop in the late 1980s. Photo / Supplied

Newlywed Social Development Minister Paula Bennett's teenage truck-stop romance with her new husband Alan Philps was rekindled again only recently - about 20 years after the couple broke up back in 1991.

Ms Bennett married Mr Philps, an old boyfriend, in Piha on Saturday - and yesterday Ms Bennett said they got back together only recently and he and his children had now moved back from Australia "so we could be a family together".

"We are very happy, and both feel very lucky to have found each other again."

Ms Bennett and Mr Philps went out together for a few years after they first met in the late 1980s. At the time Ms Bennett was a solo mother in her late teens, working as a truck stop waitress in Taupo on the 11pm to 7am shift and Mr Philps was a truck driver who stopped in to eat. The pair split in 1991 and met up again some months ago. Ms Bennett will return to work in her Waitakere electorate today after a honeymoon at Piha.

Ms Bennett yesterday posted a "thank you" to Piha on her Facebook page, saying "you put on a magic day for our wedding". She thanked the wedding caterers, Piha Cafe and Blair's fish and chips, as well as the Piha Surf Life Saving Club and "DJ Phil for rocking the night".

She also thanked the locals "for their laid back attitude".

It was a small ceremony which one guest said was very moving. National MP Chester Borrows was the officiant. Fellow National MP Tau Henare said he was "privileged" to be invited - Ms Bennett had spoken at his own wedding at Parliament recently.

- NZ Herald

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