When Adam Janes discovered he was seated near a new girl with fiery red hair at Kamo High School in 2009 he found himself competing with his mate for her attention.
"My first impression of her was, 'Who is this girl with fiery red hair?' Her hair is a natural bright copper colour and I've always been attracted to red hair. Plus, she was like no one else I knew in her style and personality so I just had to get to know her."
Janes was Year 12 and Kathleen Cobbald had not long moved to Whangārei and joined the school as a Year 13.
"Neither of us won (her attention), to be honest. She was a year older and they had combined year levels but, after a few months, they split them again and she moved to another class."
However, the two had struck up a casual friendship and caught up in between classes.
"I always liked her, I just never had the courage to ask her out."
But before she headed off to uni, Janes plucked up the courage to ask for her number.
"She wrote it down on a pink piece of paper using a pink pen and I still have that piece of paper," he said.
The pair would text and call and, after a couple of months, Janes, now 29, discovered that she liked him back. But distance and life got in the way and eventually they lost contact.
It was after Cobbald, now 31, had moved back to Whangārei that they reconnected by chance in the street.
"In 2012, I was working at Spec Savers and she was working nearby at an adult training centre and we were both walking to work when we bumped into each other. It rekindled the spark, I guess. We were both single and everything just fell into place."
The couple married in 2017 at the Whangārei Quarry Gardens in a semi-traditional Norse wedding, in honour of their Scandinavian ancestry. Two years later, they welcomed their first child, Sven, now 21 months old.
The couple will celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary in April and Janes was hoping to find a babysitter in order to take his wife out for a special Valentine's dinner tonight.