Nuptials 30 years in the making
On a hot Marlborough summer afternoon, Des Barson and Kaki Manuera sealed a love which began 30 years ago.
Mr Barson, who has cancer, asked his partner of 30 years to marry him last week after a "casual" chat with a nurse at Hospice Marlborough where he was receiving treatment.
The pair were married in the hospice garden yesterday in front of 20 friends and family, although it was kept a secret from their eight children so they could surprise them with a phone call last night.
"We should have done this 30 years ago," Mr Barson said.
The ceremony was punctuated by banter between Mr Barson and the guests, but silence fell when the couple exchanged their vows. The emotion of the moment almost overcame them.
A glass of Moet sealed the deal, and Mr Barson raised his glass to thank the guests for coming.
Ms Manuera said with all her friends there she did not feel nervous at all.
Brother of the groom Roger Barson said it was brilliant that the couple had decided to tie the knot.
"This was long overdue."
Des Barson invited the guest back to their house for a feed of whitebait fritters.
Mr Barson and Ms Manuera met in the sergeants' mess hall at Wigram airforce base in Christchurch in 1983. Both had been in the air force and both had four children each from previous marriages.
They moved to Blenheim in 1986, and retired in 1997.
The Marlborough Express