Matchmaker turns to Christchurch

GEORGINA STYLIANOU
Last updated 05:00 10/01/2013

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A matchmaking Stewart Islander hopes to play Cupid for some of Christchurch's lonely hearts.

Doug Beck is the brain behind the Stewart Island Singles Ball, which has raised more than $60,000 for charities since its creation seven years ago.

Beck said about 10 couples who met at the balls had married and there had been "countless hook-ups over the years".

Figures from online dating site FindSomeone showed Canterbury had one of the highest proportions of men on the site, with the gender split 60 per cent males and 40 per cent females.

"[The balls are] great fun and I think Christchurch could do with its own singles ball," Beck said.

"I've heard of a lot of breakups since the earthquakes, so people will be looking to meet someone in a fun environment."

Beck hoped any money raised from a Christchurch ball would go towards "vulnerable elderly people and young families doing it tough".

Beck and his 20-year-old son, Hayden, moved to Christchurch last month after securing construction jobs in a residential subdivision in Rolleston.

The Stewart Island community, made up of about 400 permanent residents, had done "its fair share" in quake fundraising, Beck said.

"But I thought it was about time we made the move up here to do something more practical."

The pair were "finding it pretty tricky" to find somewhere to live.

They have been living in a Rolleston motor lodge and were still looking for a house.

Once he found a place, he would "start looking at helping the singles".

FindSomeone manager Rick Davies said Christchurch was an "ideal location" for a singles ball.

"It's one of the most active regions on our site," he said. "Whether that's because of an influx of males for the rebuild or whether it's for other reasons, people in Christchurch are definitely trying to find the love."

Davies said a loss of nightclubs and "traditional meeting spots" in the city meant organised singles events would "go down a treat".

About 10,000 Cantabrians were active on the site, he said.

GENDER GAP

Rick Davies, of FindSomeone, said Canterbury had one of the largest gender imbalances on its site in the country, and the gap was widening.

Cantabrians registered on the site were split 60 per cent males to 40 per cent females. At the start of 2012, the split in Canterbury was 55 per cent males to 45 per cent females.

There had been a "dramatic increase" in the number of men joining the site in Canterbury during the past 12 months, Davies said, which seemed to be "directly related" to the Christchurch rebuild.

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The site became more male-heavy southward. In Auckland, the gender split was 55 per cent male to 45 per cent female.

More females in Canterbury had joined the site since Christmas, but Davies expected women would continue to be outnumbered by men.

- The Press

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