John Weekes

John Weekes is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Finding the gift of giving

Kieran Ewald from Brisbane. Photo / Michael Craig
Kieran Ewald from Brisbane. Photo / Michael Craig

Love will be in the air this Thursday as Valentine's Day brings out the best and the worst in Kiwi romantics.

The Herald on Sunday straw-polled people in the street about their experiences with the day.

Taleta McDonald, 32, said the worst gift she received was nothing at all.

"I think that was the last Valentine's Day. I was really p***ed off. I'm not with him any more."

McDonald said the ideal gift was "huge flowers that can't fit through the door, chocolates, jewellery and a special date planned for the whole night".

Her friend Mauricio Moreira, 26, was more down-to-earth. "I think just hanging out together is the most important thing."

Actor Britta Brandt, 29, was not keen on Thursday's love-fest. "I hate Valentine's Day. It's like forced fun." She thought McDonald's wish-list was outrageous, and the sign of a "high-maintenance" girlfriend.

"I'd rather have $200 to buy a new pair of shoes." she said.

Veronica McCluskey is no stranger to weird gifts on Valentine's Day. "I got a fish once. It died. It was a Chinese fighting fish," McCluskey said.

The 25-year-old from the Gold Coast and her friend Kieran Ewald, 22, took a dim view of Valentine's hype. "It's the one day I think something is wrong with me," McCluskey said, noting her best present was something handmade.

"All I've had is one of those crappy teddy bears and chocolates," Ewald said.

Heather Holmes has never received an appalling present but imagined some men gave bad gifts. "It would have to be something related to doing a chore, like car polish."

Most people said the day was too focused on consumerism. "It's driven by the commercial scene," Holmes said. But she said it was still a wise plan for men to at least pay a visit to the florist. "Flowers are always good."

Meanwhile, emerging movement One Billion Rising will use February 14 to focus on violence against women. A noon event at Bastion Point features speakers including survivors of violence.

Organiser Helen Te Hira said the day was a chance for people who felt strongly about ending family violence to take part in "empowering" activities.

Gatherings will also happen in Wellington, New Plymouth and Wanganui.

- Herald on Sunday

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