A gay couple have become engaged live on Māori TV after a Māori man proposed to his Australian partner.

Māori Richard Haeata and partner Robert Stewart, who is an Aboriginal Australian from Eora  land, were being interviewed on the show Kawekōrero Reporters when Haeata surprised everyone by popping the question.

“I can’t go down on one knee, but I would love you to marry me if you would have me,” he said.

“Yeah, you know I’m gonna marry you,” Stewart answered.

Their low-key but public engagement comes after the couple have been together for 18 years, and marriage equality has finally been legalised in both their home countries.

“We waited, not because New Zealand got it first, but because Robert wanted to do this on his own whenua [land] and with his people present,” said Haeata.

“For me that was really important as well. You know, to make sure that his family were accepting of the idea but also present when it happened.”

New Zealand legalised same-sex marriage in 2013.

Earlier this year, the host of New Zealand’s The Project issued a tongue-in-cheek warning to Australia about the consequences of marriage equality across the ditch.

Same-sex couples in Australia will be able to legally marry from January 9.

You can watch the touching moment when Haeata proposed here.

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