Bridezilla Barnett ties knot

21:38, Feb 17 2009
THE HAPPY COUPLE: Labour MP Tim Barnett and partner Ramon Maniapoto after their civil union ceremony at Lake Taupo yesterday.

When it came to planning his own civil union, Christchurch Central MP Tim Barnett was something of a "bridezilla".

The British-born MP tied the knot with partner Ramon Maniapoto at Waitetoko Marae at Lake Taupo yesterday during a relaxed ceremony attended by about 300 guests, including a who's who of the Labour Party.

Barnett, who wore an ivory coloured shirt with black koru-shaped swirls on it, was escorted down the aisle to a smiling Maniapoto, dressed in a black suit and white shirt, by parliament's Speaker of the House Margaret Wilson.

The relaxed nature of the ceremony, however, belied the hours of planning Barnett put into it, with speakers at the wedding referring to the MP who championed the civil union legislation through parliament as a "bridezilla" with lists for everything.

Barnett, 48, and Maniapoto, 37, an Air New Zealand service consultant, decided to enter into a civil union 18 months ago but wanted to wait until civil unions were no longer a novelty before holding their own ceremony.

A saucy poem was read during the ceremony by former Labour MP Georgina Beyer and guests were treated to a song composed especially for the couple by singer and activist Moana Maniapoto, believed to be Ramon's cousin.

Barnett said it was a wonderful day. "It was really emotional when we said our vows. We hadn't shown each other what we had written."



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