One of many same-sex weddings: Celebrant Philippa Thomas marrying Aussies Heathery Meyer. left. and Megan Wyrick at Earnslaw Burn, near Glenorchy. PICTURE: MOUNTAIN WEDDINGS


To help Queenstown’s economic recovery, the resort’s being touted as a New Zealand, Australasian and even global capital for same-sex weddings and civil unions.

Behind the initiative are Winter Pride festival co-organiser Martin King, who started the Pride Pledge campaign, and the Queenstown Wedding Association (QWA).

About 100 Queenstown businesses, the most in NZ, have signed the Pride Pledge, signalling to the LGBTQI+ community their support for diversity and inclusiveness.

Signatories include QWA and about 25 of its members, like celebrants, caterers and photographers.

King believes this partnership, the wider community’s support for Pride Pledge and Winter Pride, and the resort’s existing popularity for weddings make Queenstown an ideal ‘rainbow wedding capital’.

“We’re already one of the safest countries in the world and one of only a couple of handfuls where same-sex weddings and civil unions are legal.

“Of the 700 LGBT+ weddings in NZ last year, over a third were foreigners, so that market [once NZ’s borders lift] already exists.

“Queenstown’s already desirable, globally, and the wedding industry’s a highly desirable, higher-end market.”

QWA president and celebrant Philippa Thomas says Queenstown’s the most popular location for weddings in NZ and estimates about 10 per cent of nuptials here involve same-sex couples.

“We are proud to be able to stand up and show the world the wedding industry in Queenstown is accepting, diverse and inclusive for anyone wanting to get married here, regardless of who they are, who they are marrying and where they’re from.”