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Beautiful Māori Wedding | Black Barn Lake Tarawera

What an incredible wedding to feature. Filled with gorgeous Māori traditions, Haka, Pounamu (greenstone) and bringing beautiful whānau together for Briar and Tapara’s big day.

Who Briar and Tapara Hawkins
Where The Black Barn, Lake Tarawera
Guests 80



Our budget was around 30K 

How did you meet? 

We met clubbing in town when we were 19/20  #drunkinlove

How did your partner propose?

This is a bit of a story and it’s hilarious.

Myself, Tapara and our besties Jay & Mel were on Holiday in Bali (5 years ago). The year before we had done a girls trip to Bali so we knew if you told them it was your birthday, they would bring out a cake and sing you happy birthday. Mel and I decided to set up Tarps and not tell him. So Mel snuck up to the bar at the restaurant to tell them it was his birthday. It was getting towards the end of dinner. And I know it’s about to go down (the birthday prank) as the lights dim. I turn to look at him, as he’s getting down on one knee completely oblivious there is 5 balinese clapping hands and singing him happy birthday with a cake. I had no idea what he said as I was cry laughing… But obviously I said yes and I wouldn’t have it any other way. A story we can laugh about forever. 


What was important to you when you started planning your wedding? 

Being a photographer myself, having someone amazing take the images was definitely the most important thing. We booked Justin before we booked anything else.

Next was the venue; the black barn made the perfect backdrop for the day. It was also important that we didn’t miss any time with our guests so we did all of our photos before the wedding. 

In three words describe your wedding style 

Relaxed, Family, Love.

Was there anything that you did that was a little different to the norm for your wedding?

Doing photos first.. but I think that’s becoming more norm now.

What were your save and splurge items for your wedding?

  • Splurge – Live music, photographer and accommodation and venue
  • Save – Table flowers 

What was the most difficult part of planning your wedding? And the most fun? 

The most stressful part was making sure we had ordered everything for the catering and dinner. Also getting everything back to the hire places on time.

Did you DIY anything, or have family and friends help? 

Tapara’s family did all of the food which was amazing, his uncle helped put together a menu. We also had his amazing cousins run the bar and organise serving the night of wedding.

Did lockdowns have any effect on your plans, did you have to postpone, change any of your plans or reduce your guest list?

No we got married back in 2019, but we did have our first baby in the very first lock March the 30th 2020. 

What advice would you share with others planning their Big Day?

Do not go cheap on a photographer. You will look back on your photos for a lifetime.

BOOK SOMEONE YOU LOVE. I have heard many times of brides being disappointed about their photos. Book someone you love and connect with. Enjoy your day, it goes so fast!

Do you have any regrets, what would you change, if anything? The one thing I would change is to have live music longer and not have the dj take over at 8.30pm. Everyone loved Adam McLean Music. He played throughout the afternoon and over dinner 


Where did you go for your honeymoon?

Moorea, Tahiti

If you enjoyed this blog, we would love to see yours too, just submit your details through this form. We love to feature all weddings including same sex weddings, elopements and civil unions, and would love to hear what makes yours unique!

Photographer Justin Aitken Photographer
Venue The Black Barn, Lake Tarawera

Catering & Event Planning My inlaws and family did all the food and it was amazing. 
Makeup Rhi Kaipo Makeup
Hair Hann Stech Hair
Attire Made with love (I added lace sleeves to the dress.)

Wedding Party Attire Hallensteins and Evolution

Music Adam McLean Music
Rings Stewart Dawsons
Flowers Le fleur 
Wedding Cake My sister made it

shop our best selling

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