Redheads are sizzling hot, according to Kiwis.
Flame-haired women beat blondes and brunettes when it comes to what men, especially Aucklanders, look for in a date.
About 1000 New Zealand men gave their hair and eye colour, vice and education preferences to auction-dating website What'sYourPrice.com.
The American site surveyed users, measuring the popularity of female features according to what men offered to pay for a first date with someone.
While red-heads are often teased as gingas, the revelation is no surprise for celebrity model manager Sara Tetro.
"I love red hair, it's different. It's not as commonplace as brunettes or blondes."
NZ's Next Top Model, which Tetro presented, was responsible for peddling auburn twins Nellie and Elza Jenkins into the spotlight in season two.
"Historically red hair hasn't been favoured. Why it hasn't been popular from the start I've no idea," Tetro said.
"Anything that's a rare feature should be treasured."
Men seeking flame-haired beauties are in luck at the moment, thanks to the fashion industry, Tetro said. "People are dyeing their hair red, it's cool."
Copper and auburn were the most popular trends in salons this year, according to Rodney Wayne staff.
Males with red hair have also been getting good PR, with the likes of American drama Homeland's heart-throb Damian Lewis.
An article in British newspaper The Independent called him "powerfully erotic" on screen.
"Tall and athletic, he looks like a man who instinctively understands why people should wish to look at him."
But the penchant for red hair surprised Go Girls' Wellington-based actress Alix Bushnell, whose character Britta has flaming locks.
"I'm very surprised by this. Are you sure the statistics haven't been tampered with? Maybe it's because red hair is different."
The rest of the country is yet to catch on to Aucklanders' preference for red tresses, especially Christchurch, where gentlemen still prefer blondes, preferably with the blue eyes as well.
"A man's desire is measured by the amount that he is willing to invest in an opportunity," website founder and CEO Brandon Wade said.
"This is a perfect example of ‘putting your money where your mouth is,' as these men date what they desire and have the means necessary to find their perfect woman," Wade said.
Reactions were mixed when it came to education. Auckland central and North Shore men prefer a doctorate degree, no less.
Manukau men like women with bachelor degrees and Cantabrians are not fussed with tertiary educated women.
Men around the country prefer non-smokers and casual drinkers, with the exception of Manukau which likes heavy drinking women.
On average, New Zealand men are prepared to pay $230 for a first date with their ideal woman.
- Sunday Star Times
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