The New Zealand Defence Force has hosted its first same-sex wedding.

Overwatch, a Defence Force support group for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people, has announced the marriage of former Overwatch chairman Squadron Leader Stu Pearce and his long-term partner, David Fenwick.

The couple wed on Saturday in an "intimate and moving service" in front of about 40 guests at the airforce's Ohakea base chapel. The reception was held at the base officers' mess.

The newlyweds both have deep ties to the airforce, with Mr Pearce currently serving on 3 Squadron as the Iroquois Section Commander.


Mr Fenwick served in the RAF until 2006. Together, they have more than 35 years of airforce service, Overwatch said.

Mr Pearce said: "The base chapel is a beautiful, peaceful space, very much a shrine to the airforce.

"For Dave and I to celebrate our marriage there, amongst friends, family and fellow servicemen and women, was particularly poignant."

Defence Force principal chaplain Colonel Lance Lukin gave a reading and offered prayers at the service.

Celebrations continued well into the night, Overwatch said.

Celebrant Richard Tankersley, who officiated at the ceremony, described the couple's marriage on Facebook as "a really big step for two great guys and another small step in the ongoing realisation of equal rights for all New Zealanders".

The Herald last night contacted Mr Pearce, who referred comment to the Defence Force communications sector, which could not be reached.