Couple to marry 10 years after meeting on Air NZ flight

Chris Hoffmann and Danielle Mills after Chris proposed by writing words in the sand at Muriwai beach. Photo / Supplied by Chris Hoffman
Chris Hoffmann and Danielle Mills after Chris proposed by writing words in the sand at Muriwai beach. Photo / Supplied by Chris Hoffman

Love is truly in the air for Chris Hoffmann and Danielle Mills.

The couple are getting married 10 years to the day after first meeting on an Air New Zealand flight on January 30, 2006.

A strange coincidence predicted their union, when Mr Hoffmann was helping staff at Kaitaia Airport with check-in computers that had crashed.

Chris proposed by writing words in the sand at Muriwai beach. Photo / Supplied by Chris Hoffmann
Chris proposed by writing words in the sand at Muriwai beach. Photo / Supplied by Chris Hoffmann

As the system restarted a boarding pass with his future fiancee's name on suddenly flew out of the printer.

"Given I work in IT I don't really believe in anything other than technology, but it's one of those things you can't explain."

They ended up sitting near each other and struck up conversation, although it wasn't quite love at first sight.

"At first she looked like she was 13, Danielle has always looked quite young, so when we were chatting I asked her if she in her first year at school, she snapped back at me and said 'No, it's my last!"'

After landing in Auckland the two exchanged numbers, and in no time Mr Hoffmann was back on a plane travelling to visit her.

"She texted me and then two weeks later I'm heading down to Christchurch to see her."

It took another flight, this time to Thailand, to provide the impetus for Mr Hoffmann's dramatic mid-air proposal.

Chris took Danielle for a flight to pop the big question. Photo / Supplied by Chris Hoffmann.
Chris took Danielle for a flight to pop the big question. Photo / Supplied by Chris Hoffmann.

"I had not so much a mid-life as a third-life crisis and I headed to Thailand and I was wondering about what I was going to do, and I thought I definitely want to get married."

A special gift from his soon-to-be fiancee inspired his plan to pop the question.

"Danielle bought me my first flying lessons, she saved up for my birthday to get them, and that always stuck in my mind because it was such a massive job for her to save up for those."

His love of flying meant an undercover mission was necessary to ensure Miss Mills was not in on the surprise.

Chris proposed by writing words in the sand at Muriwai beach. Photo / Supplied by Chris Hoffmann.
Chris proposed by writing words in the sand at Muriwai beach. Photo / Supplied by Chris Hoffmann.

"Every time we went near an airfield or an airport she would get anxious, to be honest I think she'd been waiting for it for the past six years, I definitely didn't want her to see it coming."

He co-ordinated with her bosses, who told her a client needed to have a package delivered urgently.

She was flown by helicopter to Parakai Airfield, where Mr Hoffmann was waiting for her in his plane.

The pair flew over Muriwai Beach, where an important message had been drawn in the sand.

"She saw the 'Danielle, will you marry me?' on the beach and it was an instantaneous yes."

The couple are getting married 10 years to the day after first meeting on an Air New Zealand flight. Photo / Supplied by Chris Hoffmann
The couple are getting married 10 years to the day after first meeting on an Air New Zealand flight. Photo / Supplied by Chris Hoffmann

It turned out the package she had been carrying contained her engagement ring.

"She's probably one of the very few women who have brought their own ring to their engagement."

Despite his methodical planning Mr Hoffmann was unprepared for the moment when his proposal was accepted.

"I planned everything else but I didn't plan for how emotional I'd be, and I still had to fly the bloody plane."

After an adventurous engagement, Mr Hoffmann said they will be keeping things a tad quieter at the wedding in Mangonui .

"Danielle is doing most of the organising of it and so it's going to be a bit more low-key, although in saying that I may have looked into getting us a helicopter into the church, but that's proven to be a bit too cost-prohibitive."

- NZ Herald

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