Do it! Aitutaki urges NZ prime minister to marry

Wednesday July 10, 2019 Written by Published in National
NZ PM Jacinda Arden upon arrival at the Rarotonga Airport. NZ PM Jacinda Arden upon arrival at the Rarotonga Airport.

There are stunning options if Jacinda Ardern and Clarke Gayford choose to marry in the Cook Islands, say locals, but scepticism that they’ll go through with it. 


Fresh flowers strewn across the beach of Aitutaki’s exquisite One Foot Island; reached by vaka over a crystal clear lagoon.

That’s the stunning image of a Cook Islands wedding being painted for New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern and her fiancé Clarke Gayford this week.

As the couple enjoy a holiday in the Cook Islands with their one-year-old daughter Neve, tourist operators are keen to show them just how special this place is.

Back in New Zealand, there is lighthearted speculation that their prime minister is eloping. Veteran political commentator Barry Soper wrote yesterday: “Last Easter, Ardern got engaged to her partner Clarke Gayford and at some stage, presumably, a wedding will occur. Why not offshore, away from the prying eyes of the media?”

Cook Islands News sources expressed scepticism – but wedding celebrants were still happy to sprinkle some stardust.

A private wedding on one of Aitutaki’s secret motu might do the trick, said marriage celebrant  George Williams – and if Ardern was looking for something extravagant, One Foot Island would be the best place to start.

Williams, who celebrates about 40 weddings a year, said any weddings in the Cooks would definitely involve the stunning beach and the couple sailing on a vaka over the calm and crystal clear lagoon.

Destination Cook Islands manager Nina Webb said if Ardern wanted privacy,  she too would recommend One-foot Island or Honeymoon Island.

Ardern’s visit to the Cooks comes after

Cook Islands Tourism Corporation board members and senior management travelled to Aitutaki last week, to hammer out plans to improve lagoon health, signage, waste management, and visitor capacity.

Wedding celebrant Stephen Doherty said anything could be arranged for a special event like the New Zealand prime minister’s wedding.

On the poolside, there are a number of wedding packages widely advertised that involve setting up archways of fresh flowers. So too, romantic beach weddings hidden on Aitutaki’s private islands.

Aitutaki is prized for its turquoise waters. A wedding on the island would surely be an escape to paradise – or an escape of fantasy. 


  • Comment Link jillian Steel -Haigh Wednesday, 10 July 2019 15:58 posted by jillian Steel -Haigh

    Wonderful place RARO. Keith a kiwi from Thames and I really only got married after living together for about twenty years. decided to get married at 40, cos i decided i wouldnt mind having a baby, and thought in this conservative place could be easier, for a non complicated life for us to be married. However still managed to bust the corrupt fascist system here in oz and our son attended a creative art school, their motto diversity in harmony.

  • Comment Link Tevai Barr Wednesday, 10 July 2019 15:56 posted by Tevai Barr

    Dont forget to giver some breathing space people, she came for a holiday and yes ofcourse its lovely what yall doing but, space for her and her family would be nice

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