The Art of Love: Frenchman's surprise proposal at Te Papa

10 April 2015

Paris might be the city of love, but Te Papa was the choice of young Frenchman Mickael Clement who popped the question yesterday amongst colourful Cook Island wedding quilts.

Te Papa’s art gallery visitors were surprised by the sudden sound of Bruno Mars’ ‘Marry You’ on the ukulele, as Mickael fell to one knee to propose to Jessica King, his British girlfriend of two years.

Mickael says he’d spent months preparing for this moment.

“I wanted to make this the most magical moment ever for Jessica,” Mickael said.

“Te Papa was the first place we visited in Wellington and it’s our favourite place.

“What could be more romantic for us than a place where history is registered?” he said.

Traditionally made as gifts for important occasions, 24 vibrant tīvaevae fill one room of Te Papa'’s Ngā Toi | Arts Te Papa gallery, as part of a new season of art which opened on 2 April.

Mickael and Jessica met in Japan two years ago and have been living in Wellington for seven months.

“We couldn’t let each other go,” says Mickael of their meeting.

“We decided to sell all we have to try to create a life in New Zealand.

“After only two weeks in Wellington we couldn’t go anywhere else. This place is our place.

“And now, we have this amazing memory of New Zealand for the rest of our lives.”

The show, Tivaevae: Out of the Glory Box, is part of Season 4 of Ngā Toi | Arts Te Papa, Level 5.
Ngā Toi | Arts Te Papa exhibition

Wellington musician Paddy Burgin played ukulele, accompanied vocally by Jessie Moss. The song was chosen by Mickael.

(PS. Jessica said yes!)

Media contact

Jenny Bridgen, Te Papa Senior Communications Adviser
04 381 7752 or 022 0100 901