Tauranga in the midst of a man drought

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TABLE FOR TWO: Women outnumber men in Tauranga.
TABLE FOR TWO: Women outnumber men in Tauranga.

Single women have suspected it and it's been confirmed - Tauranga is in the throes of a man drought.

But Western Bay singletons say the real problem is quality rather than quantity, and men in the area find it just as hard to find a good woman.

Census 2013 figures show that women aged 25-49 - considered the prime time for settling down - outnumber men in the same category in Tauranga.

For every 100 women in that age group, there are 87 men - meaning statistically speaking, 13 women will miss out on a partner.

The odds are worse than the national average, which is 91 men for every 100 women.
The figures don't take into account sexual preference or people who would prefer to stay single.

It comes as no surprise to Tauranga woman Jennette Wright, 41, who said the fact there were fewer men than women in Tauranga was evident in city bars.

"I've got a couple of single friends, and it is really obvious [there are fewer men in the city]."

But she believed Tauranga was not an ideal place to be single for either women or men, as "a lack of decent places to meet people makes it almost impossible".

"It hasn't got a big population, and a huge percentage is older retired people. A lot of people that live in this area are already in a relationship.

"It's a great place to be in a relationship but not so much when you are not."

Bigger cities such as Wellington offered more diversity in bars where like-minded people could meet.

In Tauranga, most of the single men in bars tended to be in their 20s, she said.

Another single woman, who spoke to the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend on the condition of anonymity, said meeting men in Tauranga was easy - it was quality that was the issue.

"Of course I may be fussy [over 40], but I really just think I'm realistic.

"What I have learnt to do is recognise the bad ones and throw them back into the pond. I'd rather be single and happy than unhappily with someone."

But single dad Christian Grey said it was also hard for men to meet women in Tauranga.

He also said there was a lack of places to meet people.

"There're heaps of bars to go for that but there's a seediness to it," he said.

Online dating also had its pitfalls, he said.

"I guess it works for some people, but you never really know what you are getting into, and the same for the other person. "How honest are people online?" Mr Grey believed the ideal way to meet potential partners was through friends - "It's more trustworthy".

For women seeking men, the odds of success increase online, where 52
The site has seen a spike of activity in the new year - last Sunday was one of its busiest days ever, with almost 80,000 visitors to the site. There were four times as many messages sent on January 5 as a month earlier.

"Some of the reasons we might see a spike in activity include people making a New Year's resolution to find love, the end of the party season and return to their day-to-day routine, and Valentine's Day being just around the corner."

The popularity of online dating was simply an extension of the popularity of the internet in general, Ms Compagnone said.

"We go online to work, shop, socialise with friends and entertain ourselves, so it makes sense that we're also looking for prospective partners in the same place. Any question we can't find the answer to, we're straight to Google, so why not rely on the internet to help us solve the riddle of love."

The stigma of online dating had lifted, she said.

"We're no longer talking about it in hushed tones or making up fake 'how we met' stories. People are realising that, unlike meeting a stranger in a bar, online dating gives us a chance to get to know someone before taking the plunge. It makes us less vulnerable."

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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