Kiwi singles may be in what appears to be a Government imposed celibacy lockdown, but a lack of physical outings hasn't taken dating off the cards. Are Kiwis taking advantage of their spare time to swipe and will this trend continue in a post-Covid era? Katie Harris reports.
Online dating has been around since before Ross met Rachel, but amid the global coronavirus pandemic, popular dating apps like Bumble and Tinder are seeing a huge spike in activity.
And New Zealand websites aren't exempt.
Kiwi dating site FindSomeone, which is owned by Trade Me, has seen a 54 per cent jump in the number of messages members have been sending each other during lockdown compared to the two weeks prior.
Tinder user Craig Westenberg said the online dating scene was one silver lining to the lockdown.
The comedian was one of many users already taking advantage of the passport feature which allows users to match with others across the globe and said he had received twice the number of matches to usual.
"I've been doing some really important research and I've discovered that in Christchurch I'm a four, in Auckland I'm a six and in Invercargill I'm a nine so after lockdown I might be doing some gigs down there."
His conversations were lasting up to 10 days, which Westenberg said was "pretty insane" if you've never met in real life.
"I think a lot of people are just looking for a friend or someone to talk to out of their bubble. So you don't have that pressure of needing a witty opening line."
On Tinder, conversations from February 20 to March 26 have on average increased by 20 per cent and are lasting 25 per cent longer.
A Tinder spokesperson told the Herald that although much of the world remained under lockdown, more than ever Tinder users were still getting out there digitally and swiping with their passport feature.
Like Tinder, Bumble- a dating app where women make the first move, had also seen overwhelming increases in "quality chats".
A spokesperson said from the week of March 15 to the week of March 29 they saw a 23 per cent increase in messages being sent globally and a 31 per cent increase in Bumble video calls.
"This only further validates that when physical connection is limited humans will seek out other means to interact and engage, and video calling is meeting that demand."
Dating apps have long since shed the stigma and embarrassment which sometimes plagued couples who met online.
For many, in fact according to a study last year, potentially most of us, will now meet our future partners online.
Christchurch woman Lucie Minehan-Fitzgerald is also looking for matches in a post-pandemic world.
The 23-year-old told the Herald she was ideally looking to find someone on Tinder during the lockdown who she could connect with when restrictions eased but she also wasn't looking for anything serious.
She said her online dating matches had been more chatty than usual, which she attributed to the lockdown.
On top of the potential to meet a new man, Minehan-Fitzgerald said swiping also helped
her pass her house-bound time when she usually would have been going out for drinks or seeing friends.
It wasn't just her romantic relationships that were getting a boost from the apps, Minehan-Fitzgerald said she and her flatmates bonded over their Tinder use and swipe away together in the lounge - comparing new flames.
New Zealand dating coach and relationship expert Adriane Hartigan said Kiwis already date quite differently compared to other places in the world.
She said older generations were more conservative with their dating, and younger people were more interested in having experiences and learning more about themselves.
"People have a lot more time to think about what they actually want, and relationships are ultimately in the top rank of what we as human beings desire."
Her main observation was that those who were light hearted and not serious about relationships won't spent much time online, but those who are really curious about dating and relationships will use this time to explore.
"In the bigger picture for those that really want relationships and connection and ultimately physical relationships will treat this time with much more consideration, care and respect."
Over the next few months, Hartigan said dating behaviour in New Zealand will change because people will get more confident putting themselves out there online.
Online dating isn't without risk, she cautioned that people should take their time getting to know each other before jumping straight into video calls.
"You should video call only if it feels good and authentic, but it shouldn't be something where we put each other under pressure."
Christchurch Accountant Ethan Laby is looking for a relationship but doesn't usually go on dates because he doesn't have much time, however since the lockdown, he said he was spending more time chatting to romantic potentials.
"By talking online your filling a little bit of a gap and we're all going through the same thing so there's automatically that sense of commonality between you two."
Laby said especially being gay there weren't a lot of people who he doesn't know and because their community was so small it was often hard to find people who weren't just looking for one thing.
He said thanks to the passport feature he was able to connect with men from around the world.
The way we date may be changing, but in spite of the virus wreaking havoc across the globe, the comfort of true human connection continues to knit lovebirds together- albeit now digitally.