A Czech drug-smuggler at the centre of a political storm married in Queenstown two years ago.
Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway is under fire for cancelling Karel Sroubek’s deportation order and reconfirming his New Zealand residency.
Months before he was jailed in 2016 for smuggling $375,000 worth of MDMA into NZ, he got married at a civil ceremony at Lake Hayes wedding venue, Stoneridge Estate.
He married under the false name, ‘Jan Antolik’, that he’d adopted when entering the country in 2003.
Local marriage celebrant Peter Doyle, who performed the honours, says “it was all legit” because ‘Antolik’ had produced a marriage licence.
“You would think that the court had done all the checks.”
Doyle recalls it as “an ordinary wedding” with about 50 guests.
“He was actually a nice bloke.
“I think he told me he was the NZ kickboxing champion ‘cos he was built like a tank – he was an amazing-looking bloke.”
‘Antolik’ was also well dressed – he’d won a Fashion Week experience with NZ Weddings magazine and suit-maker Crane Brothers.
He opted for a navy suit made from Italian wool with copper buttons to add a point of difference, he told the magazine.
Queenstown wedding photographer Dawn Thomson recalls “a little bit of extra pressure” because her photos were going to be published, “but I always do my best anyway”.
“The couple were really lovely, and there were beautifully well-dressed women”, she says.
“It was quite a beautiful wedding.” She remembers the bride was “really disappointed” it was raining.
“I imagine people come here and spend a lot of money to get married at Stoneridge and have a lovely reception for their guests, but it bucketed down.”
It’s understood Sroubek, who’s still in prison, has since split up with his wife.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, meanwhile, has ordered an investigation into the immigration furore.