The last, momentous tourist weddings in Cook Islands

Monday March 23, 2020 Written by Published in Economy
David Seifried and his partner Michaela Holzer married on Aitutaki on Saturday, then flew out yesterday morning. 20032211   ANNIE BISHOP / BISHOP’S CRUISES 20032216 / 20032209 David Seifried and his partner Michaela Holzer married on Aitutaki on Saturday, then flew out yesterday morning. 20032211 ANNIE BISHOP / BISHOP’S CRUISES 20032216 / 20032209

They may be the last tourist weddings in the Cook Islands for some time. Jonathan Milne meets three couples for whom love conquers all – even coronavirus and travel bans.

No friends, no family, not even their 20-year-old son Eric.

David Seifried and his partner Michaela Holzer married on Saturday on Aitutaki with just the team from Bishop’s Cruises as their witnesses.

Annie Bishop, of Bishop's Cruises said that David and Michaela will be long remembered by the team.

“An excellent memory for us to start our Aitutaki lockdown and was truly a lovely, appreciative and fun couple. We all thoroughly enjoyed our couple of hours together,” Bishop said.

David 40, wore his jeans rolled to his knees, a white shirt and a black bowtie. Michaela was in a glorious ei katu with a matching bouquet, and an elegant, flowing white Grecian-style gown.

She lifted her skirt with one hand, to walk barefoot on the sandy beach with her new husband.

New? They had been together 24 years. They had no idea that their quiet little wedding would prove so momentous.

“We were the last ones,” muses Michaela, 39. “There are no more weddings.”

Yesterday, after a long wait at Rarotonga International Airport, the Austrian couple were among the very last to be allowed a waiver to transit through New Zealand – and they boarded Air NZ Flight 19 out.

Michaela left her bouquet with the taxi driver who took her to Rarotonga Airport. As they finally made the walk up the aisle to the security checks, they waved at their driver, still sitting nearby in the sun, four hours later.

“Meitaki!”

And they took a last look at Cook Islands, gave each other a kiss – and walked up to the x-ray machines.

On the same flight were Swedes Marie Wallander and Niklas Olofsson, from Stockholm. They married last week at Manuia Beach resort.

They too made their way to security with wide smiles, after a long, worried wait at the airport.

And New Zealanders Dion Hall and Bex Joblin were among the last to say “I do” on Rarotonga, on Thursday. The Hawke’s Bay couple married at the Edgewater resort, in front of 25 family and friends.

Unlike David and Michaela, their kids were there to see their parents marry. All five of them, aged between 10 and 20!

Twenty of their friends and family boarded NZ19 out of Rarotonga yesterday – but Dion and Bex Hall saw them off, then stayed behind with the kids.

“She’s a very lucky lady to have a man like myself,” Dion joked. “There’s not many of us left!”

And he’s right in one sense: there’s not many tourists left in the Cook Islands at all. A few more fly out on this afternoon’s Air New Zealand flight.

But Bex and Dion and their kids will stay a little longer. They are planning to go out on Captain Tama’s glass-bottomed boat.

“We’ve been waiting to see if we have to leave early,” says Bex, “but we’d like to stay.”

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