NATION

Wailoaloa Community Hosts Stranded Couple’s Wedding In Fiji

Peter Cooney, 33, from Victoria, Australia, and his Dutch partner Nina Boekhoven, 33, had arrived in the country on March 16 for a ten-day holiday.
17 Aug 2020 16:28
Wailoaloa Community Hosts Stranded Couple’s Wedding In Fiji
Peter Cooney married partner Nina Boekhoven at the Wailoaloa Beach in Nadi.

A couple who have been stranded in the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic exchanged their wedding vows in front of friends and guests at Wailoaloa, Nadi yesterday.

Peter Cooney, 33, from Victoria, Australia, and his Dutch partner Nina Boekhoven, 33, had arrived in the country on March 16 for a ten-day holiday.

The forced closing down of borders due to the pandemic failed to dampen their love.

Their big-day was made possible through the support of the Wailoaloa community who donated their time, resources and expertise to give the couple their Fijian wedding.

Mr Cooney, a painter, said, “We are so excited to get married today. We have found a new family here from all walks of life. People just came together and got to understand the culture and each other.”

“The warriors who hold the clubs together in our wedding depict safety for us here. Fiji is the safest place that attracts all people around the world.

“We got stranded here due to COVID-19 and international borders were shut down which meant I could go back home but I cannot leave Nina behind.

“I would have returned but I wouldn’t leave Nina, she could not return with me since she is a Dutch citizen.

“People here are awesome; they have looked after us well. We are grateful to the local community including business houses for their support on our big day.”

Mrs Cooney is from Groningen City in the Northern Netherlands. She is a student in Applied Physiology who loved travelling and also loved Australia.

She was visiting Australia through a tourist visa and to satisfy her visa requirement she had to come to Fiji and then return with Mr Cooney after their ten day holiday.

They have known each other for about three years as Mrs Cooney travelled in and out of Australia, but they have been courting for a year and a half.

Mr Cooney had proposed to her in May while spending two nights at the Marriott Fiji Resort. Mrs Cooney said, “The wedding today was so amazing and it was just like a dream to us. Even though our family and relatives are not here, we have a grand family here in Fiji. We are grateful for them for making our day special.”

Local businessmen and friends had worked together to host the wedding.

Edited by Karalaini Waqanidrola

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