A clue or two by an Irish woman exercising her prerogative to propose in a leap year, resulted in a very Hokitika engagement on Monday, February 29.

On Monday night, the intended did not have a clue, but it all became clear during a regular ritual at a local beach.

Rob Myer and his partner Rebecca Carty have been fans of the Guardian crossword page since they arrived on Westland shores from England and Ireland respectively in June 2014. Since then they have settled into a regular daily regular routine at home or after work at the beach.

"It's one of those things we do ... we go to the beach we do the crossword," Ms Carty explained yesterday.


With February 29 looming -- the one day every four years when a woman might exercise her prerogative to do the proposing -- Ms Carty thought it was time to propose.

"One of our favourite things to do has always been to go and sit on the beach with a crossword, so I knew this would be the perfect way to pop the question," she said.

The Guardian editor co-operated in the cunning plan with the publication of a special set of crossword clues Ms Carty had drafted herself in the name of love.

"He had no idea," she laughed yesterday, although she admitted to some nerves when Mr Myer arrived home from work and sniffed something was up.

"I actually thought he could (have known) because he came home and I was dressed up," she said.

As it turned out, "he was very surprised".

The crossword ruse worked and a simple "yes" from Mr Meyer left Ms Carty "over the moon" with happiness.

"We went down the Mananui bush walk, did the crossword together which had the proposal hidden inside, and instead of an engagement ring I gave him a piece of pounamu from Hokitika beach to seal the deal."

The happy couple plan to travel back to the Northern Hemisphere soon for a while, but Hokitika will have a special hold for them.

"I wanted to do something special before we left, to celebrate our time here in Hokitika. I couldn't resist taking advantage of the leap day tradition to propose to him in our favourite spot on the Coast," Ms Carty said.

"Now Hokitika is part of our little love story forever ... I think we will always call this place home."

- Hokitika Guardian