Jan 19, 2021

TangataWhenua.com

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Barry man Simon Portelli and Maori partner Jay Hohaia to become one of New Zealand’s first legally-wed gay couples

3 min read

(Wales Online) A Welsh rugby lover is set to become one half of New Zealands first legally wed gay couples.

Barry-born Simon Portelli will make history with Maori partner Jay Hohaia when they convert their civil union on the first day New Zealands new gay marriage law comes into force on Monday.

Maori Jay admitted he could hardly understand his fast talking Barry boy when they met and only properly understood him after watching Gavin and Stacey.

When I first met Simon and I heard he was Welsh I thought, this is going to be a challenge, the social worker, 46, said.

I mean, the All Blacks learned rugby from the Welsh. They taught us how to play rugby.

They taught us bloody well because since then weve been doing OK.

Jay was a bit nervous when they first met.

The first time I spoke to Simon I didnt really understand him, he said.

His accent was pretty hard for me.

The baffled New Zealander would pretend to understand, smile and say: OK.

Even now when he is on the phone to his brother he gets really excited and speaks really fast and I have no idea what he is saying, Jay said.

But that programme Gavin and Stacey has helped a lot. Now I understand him, its really easy.

I love that show. The actor who plays Bryn is amazing.

The two met after they started chatting on Facebook.

We had a mutual friend and had a chat and met up one day and got on incredibly well, Simon said.

After two years the couple became civil partners in 2008.

We have been together ever since, Simon, 47, said.

The couple, who live in Auckland cant wait to exchange vows.

In a further twist the wedding will be conducted by a Welsh-speaking registrar from Aberdare named Melanie Peet.

Part of the service will be in Cymraeg.

Im really looking forward to Monday, Simon said.

Its going to be great for me and Jay.

Im going to wear a Welsh kilt, Ive a Pride of Wales tartan kilt, which is blue with green.

Their adopted children Brandon, 11, Shelford, aged nine and four-year-old Keyana will all take part in the ceremony.

Jay will wear a Maori feathered cloak called a Korowai.

Psychiatric nurse Simon, who moved to New Zealand after applying for a job, is excited about the big day.

Im a bit nervous because it is only three days away and we are trying to sort out the last bits and pieces, he said.

His family cant get there because of the cost and distance.

We are keeping it very small and having about 15 people come, he said.

Jay could hardly wait either.

Its something I have wanted to do for a long time, he said.

The two still have debates about rugby.

It was a tough call for Jay when choosing whether to support the All Blacks or Wales.

I like the All Blacks to win, I really do, he said.

But I tend to support Wales more than I do the All Blacks because sometimes it is nice to support the underdog.

But the Welsh rugby team has been bloody awesome and have had some good games.

As long as they beat England I dont mind.

Registrar Melanie called a celebrant in NZ thinks she is the only Welsh speaker to hold her job in the nation.

They have asked me to do a Welsh wedding blessing which was written by a friend of mine in Aberystwyth, the 52-year-old said.

She will tell the congregation: Tra gwena’r sr, tra pery’r wawr, boed i chi fythol ddedwydd awr.

That means: As long as the stars smile, as long as the dawn breaks, long may your days be content.

Its going to be one of the first same sex weddings in New Zealand, and with me being Welsh and Simon being Welsh, that is amazing, Melanie said.

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