An old-fashioned courtship and a lot of good food helped former Wellington mayor Mark Blumsky find love in Niue.
They say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, but it was not just the food that made Mr Blumsky a regular at Niue's Falala Fa cafe.
Soon after he took up the high commissioner position on the Pacific island, the former Wellington mayor's eye was captured by a beauty whose family run the local restaurant.
"I certainly ate a lot at Falala Fa in the early days," Mr Blumsky said yesterday.
A year later, Mr Blumsky, 54, and Pauline Rex, 37, are planning their wedding, and he is making plans to settle permanently in Niue.
"We pretty much clicked from the start," he said. "She's beautiful, she's funny, she can hold her own in an argument with me."
But it was not all plain sailing – before the former international flight attendant would go on a date with him there were a few hurdles to negotiate.
High commissioners did not usually date locals, Mr Blumsky said. "I actually asked permission of her uncle ... and then let the premier know, and then told my boss. I thought it was appropriate that I didn't create waves."
From that old-fashioned start, the pair were engaged in Martinborough earlier this year.
Ms Rex had always wanted to get married in a vineyard, but that was not an option on Niue which is known as the "Rock of Polynesia", so they settled for getting engaged in one, he said. The pair will marry at the island's Matavai Resort in January.
Along with Ms Rex, he had also fallen in love with island life, and would build a house once his three-year term as high commissioner ended in 2013, he said.
The couple will be joined by their "child" – dog Bruno, which Mr Blumsky described as "a real Niuean dog".
"He's a bit of everything that walks on the island, I think."
Life on Niue, where he has traded business suits for shorts and Hawaiian shirts, was peaceful, but there was also a lot of opportunity in the growing tourism industry, he said.
- The Dominion Post
Does more need to be done to protect NZ passports?