Wairarapa Lovebirds is a book of photographic portraits of engaged couples, in support of Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre.
Learn essential wedding planning tips from real-life couples getting married in the Wairarapa, Aotearoa New Zealand.
By combining my love of photographing couples, with a desire to help both them and Pūkaha, is how we are here today!

Prefer to just read the text?

​​

Wairarapa Lovebirds Photographic portraits of engaged couples In support of Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre Photographs by Sarah Watkins Text by the couples

 

Wairarapa Lovebirds is a book of photographic portraits of engaged couples, in support of Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre. Learn essential wedding planning tips from real-life couples getting married in the Wairarapa, Aotearoa New Zealand. By combining my love of photographing couples, with a desire to help both them and Pūkaha, is how we are here today!

 

As a recovering graphic designer, I have always loved books. Especially printed books: the interplay between words and images across pages; their physical presence; how you can hold them in your hands. I had always wanted to design one myself. When my husband Ben and I arrived in the Wairarapa from Australia in 2018, one of the first places we visited was Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre. As nature lovers and birds in particular, we thought we’d landed in heaven! We enquired about volunteering to help the conservation of native birds and forest. How could we help restore bird song to forests across Aotearoa New Zealand, our new home? Little did we know then that I would eventually work doing just that. All participation fees from these sessions were donated to Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre. Another of my passions is photographing couples in love: on their wedding day or for an engagement portrait session beforehand. There’s something so pure, almost simple, about that type of love. There are only two people involved (unlike family love), right at the start of their journey together. That hope and optimism is something I strive to capture in people each time. I love to help couples plan their weddings as much as I can. Drawing on our wedding planning experiences as well as those of couples I photograph in order to help others, brings me great joy. Allowing people to understand they can have an intimate wedding unique to them, in a place that means something, is priceless. I’d like to extend a massive thanks to the couples who appear in the book: thank you. By combining my love of photographing couples, with a desire to help both them and Pūkaha in a book project is how we are here today! I hope you enjoy my little book as much as I enjoyed putting it together.

 

Ngā mihi, Sarah xx

 

Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre is an unfenced sanctuary for native wildlife. Our 942-hectare forest is home to wild kōkako and kākā, while inside our aviaries we breed endangered birds for release across Aotearoa New Zealand. On your visit you will learn about our conservation work and possibly see birds with their chicks in the aviaries. You may also come across wild birds in the forest such as the titipounamu (rifleman), kārearea (New Zealand falcon) and the kererū (wood pigeon). You may also see advocacy birds like Manukura the white kiwi and Kahurangi the kōkako. Refuel in the Kākā Café with some fresh kai overlooking the takahē. Pūkaha (at Mount Bruce) has been breeding wildlife since the early 1960s and is a partnership between Rangitāne o Wairarapa and the Department of Conservation. We are a non-profit and all proceeds go back into our conservation projects. So rongo te mauri – feel life’s essence!

 

Tiriana and Michael

 

Our love story

We met in 2010. Mike is a year older than me he was one of my friends Ball dates. I went to have photos with my friends and met Mike. We just shook hands and moved along. A few weeks later we both attended the same party but again only briefly talked.

I was rather annoyed at him because he left the party when “Baby” by Justin Bieber came on. Apparently Mike being in the shed was important and I had to change the song. A few months later Mike texted me and we became best friends. A few months later Mike asked me out and we’ve been together ever since (October the 1st 2011). Mike and I went to University together, flatted together, moved into our own house. Went from long distance (Mike is from Wellington), flatting in Palmerston North during Uni and moving back to Masterton in 2018. We are now both teachers which is amazing- we get holidays off together! Mike teaches secondary and I teach primary/intermediate. Nani: Mike proposed on beautiful Friday afternoon. I had a big week at school and Friday was particularly hard. Mike suggested in the morning we go out for tea. When I asked where, he said the beach. Back when were at Uni, if we had a hard week or day we would go to the beach with some fish and chips for tea and centre ourselves. We met at my parents house and mike had some a picnic and some drinks. We drove out to the beach- me debriefing about my day and complaining about not getting an outdoor dining set.

 

We got to Castlepoint beach and mike said let’s go for a walk. We started walking towards the sand dunes and mike told me to look at the beach so we could recreate a photo from 2013. I walk up and pose and when I turn around, Mike is on one knee and proposing!!!

A few tears later and lots of hugs. We were walking back to the car, heading to the basin, eating our picnics and having a drink to celebrate. Mike: I had been thinking of proposing for a while. Nani wanted to get a outdoor dining table but I had to keep saying no because I needed the money to buy a ring. I brought the ring and was super nervous all day!! I told my trainer (who is going to be our celebrant) and fidgeted all day. Helping Nani’s dad buy a couch was the most distracted I have been. I brought the food and headed to Nani’s parents. Nani wanted to talk to her parents but I was rushing to get her out. Lucky she didn’t realise our nervous I was- she was to busy talking about school and a outdoor dining table. I was super nervous walking along the beach and I was breathing funny (Nani thought I was about to go for a swim) but I got her to walk out to the water, pretend I was taking photos and then when she turned around, I proposed.

 

Where are you getting married?

Somewhere in Masterton. We are so chill we haven’t booked a venue yet! Why have you chosen to get married in the Wairarapa? Masterton is where I am from but it is where we both feel comfortable. If possible we want to have our ceremony underneath a big oak tree where Nani used to live but again, too relaxed. We really need to book in somewhere! I don’t think it matters where, just who is there is what matters.

 

What has been the best thing about wedding planning so far?

Nani- the first day back to school, all my students did a maths task set by the other teacher in the class “How much will it cost for Whaea Tiriana to get married”. They were all so passionate and enthusiastic. So far it has been the amazing support from our family, whānau, colleagues and friends. We haven’t argued or anything yet as well (said as of 28/02/2020)! What has been the most challenging thing about wedding planning so far? The hardest thing so far is knowing we can’t have some family here but we are thinking digitally so we can have them a part of it.

 

Tiriana & Michael’s Top Wedding Planning Tips

Tip 1: It’s about you and your partner no one else

Tip 2: Stick with your gut

Tip 3: Enjoy it!

 

 

Shari and Mikey

 

Our love story

Michael and Shari have been together going on five years. Their union started through a Kapa called Te Rangiura o Wairarapa in 2015. Michael came to join up and this is where he said he fell in love with Shari. Watching Shari teach and tutor, he said a while before this he was talking to his friends about finding a woman such as Shari that was passionate about helping our community. He said when he saw Shari he knew there and then, just wow I need her in my life. Through close friends and the reputation that had been built up in the community he said he pretty much made it his mission to make Shari his wahine through Kapa Haka. After a good ten months of him chasing her during that year some friends eventually told her the obvious that Michael was trying hard to get her attention. After some grafting from Michael, they started to hang out and get to know each other. What made Shari really fall for him was how natural he was with her daughter Ruiha, and his acceptance of having both of them in his life. She knew that he was the one for her. Christmas day 2015 made their union official.

 

Where are you getting married?

Te Taperenui o Whatonga (Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre, Mount Bruce), and our reception is now going to be held at Te Oreore Marae. Why have you chosen to get married in the Wairarapa? We decided what better place to be married then where his ancestor Whatonga dwelled for a time, Pūkaha . It’s a beautiful location surrounded by the long lasting essence of his forefathers, redwoods, such a beautiful backdrop and we have spent so many years researching Whatonga and his footsteps that we thought it would be the best place to unite our lives together, and Te Oreore Marae is our home.

 

What has been the best thing about wedding planning so far?

Being able to share our ideas, discuss, laugh and make decisions. We really treasure the time we get to spend planning and talking about how we would like everything to go for the big day. What has been the most challenging thing about wedding planning so far? Food. We know we are planning for the union of the decade, so finding caterers that can cook for the mass has been a challenge. We are fortunate enough to have found someone finally who knows what we want and is more than happy to take on our big day.

 

Shari & Mikey’s Top Wedding Planning Tip

Top Tip: It is good to remember that the day is about your union and the love you two share together, not somebody else’s expectations of what your wedding should look like. The people that love, support and value your union will be the ones that will make the day less stressful for you and take the pressure off of by doing small things.

 

Eliza and Catlin

 

Our love story

Cat and I met when we were both living in Boston #tinderromance. Neither of us were looking for a serious relationship at the time, but that's how it always happens isn't it? We originally planned to date only until Cat's departure back to NZ, but here we are, 3 years later engaged in Wellington. With an upcoming trip to Hawaii planned in November 2019, Cat thought that I was going to propose there. Wanting it to be a surprise, I decided to propose the weekend before we left when all three of Cat's best friends were in town visiting. Everyone was in on the surprise. Cat thought we were meeting in town for dinner, little did she know I was actually waiting for her at a scenic overlook around the corner from our house ready to propose!

 

Where are you getting married?

Waihōanga River Lodge on the edge of Tararua Forest Park. Why have you chosen to get married in the Wairarapa? We are going to have a small ceremony with only our closest family and friends. We knew we wanted to be in a place that is tranquil and in nature. We love camping and being outside and want our wedding weekend to reflect that. All of our guests will be staying on site the night before and after. We can't wait to be in an intimate beautiful space surrounded by our loved ones.

 

What has been the best thing about wedding planning so far?

Collaborating together and discovering new things! We've always talked about being married but never talked about what we would want for the wedding. It's been fun to discover what our ideas actually are and to collaborate on how to incorporate them all.

 

What has been the most challenging thing about wedding planning so far?

Deciding where to have the wedding! Should we get married in the US? Should we get married in NZ? Should we do a ceremony here and a reception there? Being a transpacific couple is hard especially when planning a wedding. We wanted to make sure everyone who we love could come, which ultimately meant that one half of attendees would be flying halfway around the world.

 

Eliza & Catlin’s Top Wedding Planning Tips

Tip 1: Focus on what you and your partner want - the central focus should be about the commitment you are making to one another

Tip 2: Chip off one thing at a time

Tip 3: Don't forget to have fun!

LP Logo RGB Low Res.jpg
Top reviews logo(1).jpeg

Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest

Wairarapa wedding photographer | Wairarapa family photographer

Palmerston North wedding photographer | Palmerston North family photographer

I'd love to chat about what you're looking for: sarah@lucaliaphotography.com


Privacy Policy | © 2016-2020 by Lucalia Photography

WW-BADGE.png
Pukaha Recommended Badge.jpg
Offbeat_Bride_Button-as-seen.png
10553 CPH ATEP - WEDDING_highly commende
MKW-2020-Badge-A-250.png