Kiwis are showing their romantic side in a return to old-fashioned methods of getting know that special someone, say dating experts.

And they believe rise of online dating could be behind the change.

In recent years, Kiwis often met a partner at a party or through friends and then spend time hanging out before they "tripped and fell into a relationship'', said Sasha Madarasz, owner of Two's Company that offers one-to-one introductions to singles.

But this was changing as Kiwis returned to the more traditional dating methods used by older generations, who would go to dinners, dances and other events to get to know each other, she said.


"Old-fashioned is the new fashion. Courting is sexy. Women want to be wooed and treated as ladies, and men want the challenge of winning a woman's heart through effort. The combination has led us to dating,'' she said.

The trend puts us in line with several other countries such as the US, Japan and Spain, where dating is the usual path to a relationship.

Many singles were opting for traditional dates such as dinner, drinks or a movie when getting to know someone new, but people were could also get a bit more creative.

An Auckland woman was in for a romantic surprise from her New York-based partner today when a coffee and single red rose were delivered to her at work.

An inner-city coffee shop owner, who did not wish to be named, said he received a call from the man asking him to deliver the surprise to his lady on Valentine's Day morning and to say "from guess who''.

Dating websites, singles events and companies offering one-to-one introductions had contributed to rise of a dating culture, said Madarasz.

Her company offers one-to-one introductions to matched singles _ a service that has become increasingly popular, especially for the over-27s age group, who tend to find it difficult to meet people because a lot of their friends are coupled up.

She knew of a couple who had gone for a run for their first date and another who visited Kelly Tarlton's, which helped them relax and get to know each other before having dinner together.


Online site FindSomeone manager Rick Davies agreed this was "a big driver''.

Activity on the site was 10-20 per cent above the same time last year and messages sent between members 22 per cent higher - "so Kiwis are flocking to our site at record levels that's for sure'', he said.

"There's something quite rewarding and enjoyable about the formal and quality time spent on dates."

Auckland woman Kathy, aged in her 40s, said there had been a change in attitudes and people were making more of an effort when it came to dating and showing their romantic side.

She and her partner have been dating for two years but like a more traditional courtship, took things very slowly at the start by only having dates about once every 10 days.

"It was all the traditional things like dinner, drinks, walks - just getting to know each other.''

She was looking forward to spending a romantic Valentine's Day with her partner and hoped it would include a card, roses and dinner out.

Valentine's Day and New Year were the busiest times for the FindSomeone site, as lonely singles rushed to join the site in the hope of finding a mate.

"So much of the marketing (on those dates) is around romance, which heightens the loneliness that singles feel at that time of year," said Davies.