Lynley Bendall and Ally Wanikau
Lynley Bendall and Ally Wanikau

Dreams came true when Air New Zealand proudly celebrated marriage equality by hosting the historic wedding of Auckland couple Lynley Bendall and Ally Wanikau.

An Auckland-based couple has made history celebrating the legalisation of same-sex marriage in New Zealand by saying “I do” in the skies. Lynley Bendall and Ally Wanikau, who have been together almost 14 years, wed on board a particular Air New Zealand flight from Queenstown to Auckland.

The leading ladies made their vows in front of friends and family, including their children Javarn (9), Maycee (7) and Mikaere (6), and Ally’s son Damon.

“It’s been an absolute pleasure to celebrate this historic and joyous moment with Lynley and Ally. Marriage equality is something very dear to both Justin and me.”

Following the in-flight ceremony, a pop-up choir surprised the couple and their guests, performing the Maori love song Pokarekare Ana which was sung in the New Zealand Parliament following the legalisation of same-sex marriage in April.

Lynley says the couple has waited a long time to make their 13-year union official, and she’s ecstatic to be able to call herself a newlywed.


The pair exchanged pounamu (New Zealand greenstone) in place of traditional wedding bands before being pronounced as officially wed in front of actor and marriage equality campaigner Jesse Tyler Ferguson. He recently married his long-term partner Justin Mikita.


“To be married at 30,000 feet beneath strings of fairy lights with our children, friends and family as witnesses makes a memorable day much more special. It was surreal to have Jesse play a part in the ceremony, too – we’re big fans of Modern Family!”

Jesse and Justin gifted the couples’ children bow ties from their charity Tie The Knot, which raises funds for the promotion of marriage equality.