Tau-tally devoted: MP's quick 'I do'

SHANE COWLISHAW
Last updated 05:00 08/03/2012
Ngaire Brown and  Tau Henare marry
Supplied
COALITION DEAL: The marriage of long-time couple Ngaire Brown and Tau Henare at Parliament on Wednesday.

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A quick bite of chocolate cake and a glass of champagne was all National MP Tau Henare had time for as he headed straight back to work after marrying his partner at Parliament yesterday.

The list MP sprang a surprise on the House, which is sitting extended hours this week, by marrying Ngaire Brown in the former Maori affairs select committee room during the dinner break.

But the prolific Twitter addict, who is one of Parliament's biggest users of the social media site, was outed by several colleagues, who broke the news and tweeted pictures of the ceremony live.

List MP Chris Auchinvole acted as celebrant and Social Development Minister Paula Bennett gave a speech on behalf of friends and colleagues.

After the wedding, Mr Henare told The Dominion Post it had not been planned for long and was more out of "necessity" than anything else.

The pair planned to travel to Egypt and Uganda at the end of the month and there would be situations where unmarried couples staying together would be frowned upon, he said. "We weren't going to get married at all, we were just going to live in sin for the rest of our lives."

He had no time for celebrations and headed straight back into meetings instead. "I'm back to work, bro. These National Party whips know how to crack their whips."

Ms Bennett said the first she knew of the wedding was when Mr Henare began "mooching" around asking if anyone was a celebrant.

About 30 National MPs attended the ceremony, along with members of the Labour, NZ First and Maori parties. Labour Maori Affairs spokesman Parekura Horomia gave a mihi, or formal speech.

Ms Bennett said the ceremony was a lovely break during a busy week and guests celebrated with chocolate cake and a celebratory drink, although there would be no late-night partying.

"It was actually a lot more touching than we probably all thought it would be.

"It was a really lovely service and true expressions of love from each of them, but there was a poem and I think it would be fair to say that, after that many years together, we sort of thought they must know each other fairly well – quite a few puns on that, it would be fair to say."

Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean described the service as beautiful, although she reserved special praise for Ms Bennett's speech.

"Her speech was more about farting than anything else."

An earlier version of this story said Chris Auchinvole is the MP for West Coast-Tasman. He lost the seat at the last election and is now a list MP.

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