Island romance

By Andre Hueber


Great Barrier Island can be bleak at this time of the year, but it's being promoted as a tropical paradise - and a place where you could meet the man or woman of your dreams.

The idea started life as a way of raising funds for the Tryphena netball team. The group of 12 women were sick of playing the island's only other team in Okiwi and started eyeing up competition further afield. They had their sights set on a game against a team from Waiheke Island, but couldn't afford the travel costs.

"People in town experience a different match every week and we really miss out," wing attack Michelle Hartley-Scott says.

"We put our thinking caps on and decided to do a quiz night with a roast meal every Sunday."

A fundraiser called the "Barrier's Biggest Loser," is helping. Contestants pay $2 each week to take part in a weigh in, with the person losing the most weight receiving a prize.

"By the end of the season everyone will look hot," Ms Hartley-Scott says.

It was her fellow team member, goal keep Mary Williams, who came up with the idea of the singles weekend.

"I thought 'singles weekend' sounded seedy and suggested we call it 'Partners in Paradise' instead. It's less intimidating."

Auckland Council got on board - seeing it as a way to promote the Barrier in winter. A website was set up and a "Love Boat" themed photo shoot was arranged.

Guests can fly or cruise to the island by boat on Friday August 3 and book accommodation at wherever takes their fancy.

A buffet dinner will be held at the Tryphena Social Club and hypnotist Tony Banfield will provide entertainment. Guests needn't be nervous - his website says nobody will be tricked into performing "unsavoury acts".

"We've never had a hypnotist on the Barrier before," Ms Hartley-Scott says. "We thought it'd be a bit of a laugh and lighten the mood."

Then it's on to the serious business: speed dating, before a night of dancing and karaoke kicks off.

The next day activities include pig hunting around Sugar Loaf, a "romantic" bush walk to Kaitoke hot springs, golf at Whangaparapara, paint balling at Possum Lodge, horse riding and fishing. There are also art classes featuring a nude model and a session at Pamper Palace, where massage, light colour therapy, tarot reading, and reflexology are amongst the feel-good activities available.

Ms Hartley-Scott says an Auckland woman will pose for the art class which is about "appreciation of the human body in the female form, confidence and self esteem - not 'lets go and look at someone's boobs'."

The night finishes off with dinner at the Tryphena Club, where local covers band Beatz Working will perform.

Ms Hartley-Scott is happily married and has lived on the island for 23 years. "My husband John had a flushing toilet - it was a drawcard," she says, but knows it's difficult being single on the Barrier.

"There's lots of eligible people, but it's like family... you can never get away . There's only a few pubs and shops."

She says the media have a habit of stereotyping female islanders as "hairy legged" and males as "dope smoking, beer swilling, toothless old drunks," but in reality they were "driven, well rounded people."

"We're not having manicures every day but we definitely look after ourselves."

Partners in Paradise

WHEN August 3-5.

WHERE Great Barrier Island

HOW MUCH $165, including some activities and discounted travel and accommodation options.

WEB facebook.com/PartnersinParadiseGBI

CONTACT Mary Williams on (09) 4290963 or email marywilliams75@hotmail.com

WIN TICKETS AT http://tinyurl.com/partnersinparadise

POTENTIAL PARTNERS

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Name: Pauline

Age: 52

Star sign: Leo

Height 157cm

Children 2, aged 28 & 34

What have you studied? Life

Job: Driver

Favourite musician David Bowie

Last CD purchased: Station to Station, David Bowie

Favourite date film: The Notebook

Favourite food: Thai - spicy!

Tipple of choice: Sparkling wine

People admired: Angelina Jolie, for her work with children from poor countries and her commitment to family. Helen Clark. Strong, gritty determined woman.

Interests, sports and hobbies: Animals (especially horses), gardening, films, travel and long bush and beach walks.

A typical night out on the island for me: Movies and dinners with friends and family.

Best thing about Great Barrier? Living close to family and friends in a unspoilt, natural environment surrounded by good, down to earth people who all know each other.

What I am looking for: A down to earth, kind, strong and motivated man with a great sense of humour who likes animals and who is a great kisser and likes to cuddle.

Name: Darren

Age 39

Star sign: Cancer

Height: 185cm

Children: 0

What have you studied? Sports

Job: Barman and teacher aide

Favourite musician: The Stone Roses

Last CD: Kasabian

Favourite date film: Taxi Driver

Favourite food: Indian

Tipple of choice: Wild Turkey

People admired: Mohammad Ali - absolute legend. Noam Chomsky - brilliant mind and inspiration.

Interests, sports and hobbies: Football and travel

Typical night out on the island: Working at the Irish pub

Best thing about Great Barrier? The people are special and friendly

What I am looking for: Cute with a great sense of humour

Name Andrew

Age: 46

Star sign Aquarius

Height: 176cm

Children: 0

What have you studied? Engineering and landscape gardening

Job: Engineer

Favourite musician: Split Enz

Last CD: A-Z Beer Drinking Songs

Favourite date film: Bad Taste

Favourite food: Pasta dishes

Tipple of choice Vodka and Red Bull

People admired: Robert Buckminster-Fuller - inspirational architect, Fidel Castro - A true leader, gentleman and man of principle.

Interests, sports and hobbies: Flying (I have a pilot licence), scuba diving, para-gliding and fishing.

Typical night out on the island : Tequila sunrises in the spa pool, smoking cigars, listening to ZZ Top and performing air-guitar in my smoking jacket and slippers.

Best thing about Great Barrier? Sense of independence and clean living in a pristine natural environment

What I am looking for: A companion to share doing life's things with and will put up with my bad jokes.

Name Ebony

Age: 31

Star sign: Scorpio

Height: 165cm

Children: 2

What have you studied? Media Comm Cert

Job: Cook at Great Barrier Social Club

Favourite musician: CSS

Last CD purchased: Donkey - CSS

Favourite date film:Blue Valentine

Favourite food: Chocolate, chocolate and chocolate - in that order

Tipple of choice: Bourbon

People admired: My nana - she rocks!

Interests, sports and hobbies: Netball, cooking, running, reading, movies

Typical night out on the island for me: Hanging out with friends at the island's Social Club

Best thing about Great Barrier? The people and the ocean and coastline

What I am looking for: Someone honest and stable with a job, would be nice.

Name: Mary

Age: Don't be nosy

Star sign: Aquarius

Height: 175cm

Children: 3

What have you studied? Men and Barrier survival

Job: Cook and admin work

Favourite musicians: Foo Fighters

Last CD purchased: Crooked Vultures

Favourite date film: The Holiday

Favourite food: I love all kinds of foods

Tipple of choice: Cocktails

People admired: My two daughters for surviving having me as a mother

Interests, sports and hobbies: Netball, cooking, fishing, travelling, bushwhacking with my chainsaw and going to the beach

Typical night out on the island for me: Movie night and drinking and dancing the night away with the girls at the Irish bar

Best thing about Great Barrier? The people - friendly and loving and there when you need them.

What I am looking for: Someone who makes me laugh, can use a chainsaw and likes to travel and can afford to pay for their own ticket!

Name: Fern

Age: 20

Star sign: Leo

Height: 172cm

Children 0

Study: Studying fashion at the moment

Job: Student

Fav Musician: Ecliptic

Last CD purchased; I-pod iTunes Katy Perry, Jesse J

Favourite date film: Bruno Mars, running man

Favourite food: Pizza

People admired: My sister Lucy because she is simply awesome.

Interests: Netball, sewing, scrabble

Typical night out on the island for me: At home sewing

Best thing about Great Barrier: Chilled out place.

What I am looking for: Honesty, humour, good looking, nice eyes and teeth, healthy looking.

What do you think of the idea? Comment below or on our Facebook page.

- THE AUCKLANDER

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