Peter Malcouronne meets new arrivals at Auckland Airport

This honeymoon has been hard-won. It starts in the Texan town of Corpus Christi: the wedding of Lindsey and Richard Szoka. The Szokas - former workmates, more on this later - then flew to Denver, Colorado, where the plan to have an epic week of snowboarding unravelled at once (Lindsey gave Rich a bad cold).

"So. We spend the first week of our honeymoon in the mountains," Lindsey says, "in bed. Sick. Though we saw snow out the window."

Her laughing eyes suggest this wasn't an ordeal. More than can be said for the trip to Denver airport (to catch a plane to Aotearoa via LA).

Supposed to take three hours, it took nine. They missed their flight, fluked another and got to LA with minutes to spare.


The flight to Auckland left at 10.30pm on Sunday: it's now Tuesday afternoon. And so the Szokas, both 31, are dead tired, though exceedingly polite in that old-fashioned Southern way. They endure further interrogation, like how did they meet?

"We used to work together," Lindsey explains, "for the Coastguard. After we stopped [working together], we ran into each other and started hanging out."

What? No prior shenanigans?

"Noooo," Lindsey says. "Well. I did... notice him."

"When I first met her..." Richard says, grasping for the right words, "yeah. I mean, she's a good-looking girl..."

Lindsey takes up the story.

"After we bumped into each other, it didn't take long. It just blossomed. Well, that's after I shot him down a few times. But he persevered."

As an unreconstructed romantic, I'm pleased to report Rich respects the old ways. "I took her Dad out to a movie. We saw... was it Predator? He's a big sci-fi fan."


Predator? Surely not. "Oh gosh, what was it? The Alien series prequel. Prometheus! We had a bit of time before the movie."

Lindsey: "My Dad saw it coming. He was very happy. I found him the son he's always wanted."

However, it'll be Rich's parents - Jim and Roberta - who join them for their five days in New Zealand.

"We're going to Hobbiton," Lindsey says. "Rich's parents have read all the books. We have a spa in Rotorua, then we're tubing through caves. Wai-too-moo.

"But first I'm dying for a shower. And sushi: can you recommend a good sushi place?"


Lindsey: "Give yourself plenty of time - anticipate the worst traffic imaginable and double it. Pack a toothbrush. And a pack of cards. I taught Rich 'Rummy' on the plane. Who won? Well, he's just a beginner, so he got a whipping."