While New Zealanders may have a tendency to be emotionally reserved, when it comes to romance, perhaps we aren't as shy as we seem. As our TV archives suggest, some of us have no qualms in putting ourselves out there.
Dating game show Blind Date ran for a brief but lively two seasons in New Zealand during the late 1980s. In it, real life singles put a series of questions to three (unseen) potential dates, hoping their answers would lead to a love match. This segment sees scuba-diving bachelor Gary try his luck with three lovely ladies, one of whom may seem familiar to TV viewers. Appearing under her birth name Susan Barnes, future infomercial queen Suzanne Paul makes for a great contestant - listing belly dancing among her hobbies, revealing aspirations to be a game show hostess (watch out Suzy Aitken), and extolling the virtues of a "well-built wallet" in a suitor.
See Suzanne Paul on Blind Date here:
Before settling down with "Paleo Pete" Evans, former glamour model Nicky Watson lent her talents to helping a group of young Kiwi bachelors find romance...at least for a night at a time. In 2004, Watson fronted reality series The Player, coaching 15 self-confessed ''ladies' men" through Auckland's dating scene in a quest to crown the ultimate womaniser. Easily as sleazy as it sounds, this episode comes with a parental guidance warning, and sample quotes including the who-could-resist "is that a ladder in your stocking or a stairway to heaven?"
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Watch the debut episode of The Player here:
Miss Popularity pitted a bevy of beauty pageant bachelorettes against each other, competing to become "the ultimate Kiwi chick" (oh, and win $100,000) in the depths of the Australian outback. Seeking favour, the women complete a variety of bizarre backcountry challenges - this episode sees them help host Vadim Dale (of reality romance show Outback Jack) brand a calf and negotiate a hay bale obstacle course. With contestants including future All Black WAGs Casey Green and Jessie Gurunathan, it's safe to say the wider mission of the show may well have been accomplished.
Watch an episode of Miss Popularity here:
In 1998, TV3 youth show Ice TV sought to discover why humans are the "sexiest primates alive" by demystifying our courtship rituals. Taking to the streets Jon Bridges, Nathan Rarere and Petra Bagust canvass favourite physical features, and preferred perving spots, attempting to find the "key to entering the room of luurve". Also included is a fail-proof four-step guide to making eye contact.
Watch Ice TV here:
Hosted by Marcus Lush, this clip from 90s advice show Dilemmas deals with a common dating quandary - the plight of the "nice guy". Answering a letter from "Too nice from Timaru" the panel offer no-nonsense guidance, with Ginette McDonald surmising "affairs of the heart are a bit like driving a car - not too slow, not too fast, don't jump the clutch".
Watch Dilemmas here: