Who says romance is dead?

Last updated 05:00 19/01/2014
Bernard Shapiro

THE LANDY: Bernard Shapiro proposed after a week long possum hunting trip in this Landrover.

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In 2005 I embarked on a series of pedestrian expeditions across the South Island to discover more about the landscape and the people who lived there.

I walked from Oamaru to Arrowtown in traditional clothing long before First Crossings was a thing, and I had a lot of time to think and reflect. I made a decision whilst crossing the Dunstan Range that was to change my life.

At the time I was living with a wonderful lady who had arrived from Taiwan in 1989. She and I had often been hunting deer and goats together in the high-country.

Taiwan is a secret paradise of mad, enthusiastic tramping clubs with steaming jungles that resemble a tropical version of Fiordland, and the people who frequent them are colourful, happy and verging on nuts.

I've made a few visits to the south of Taiwan and the only differences I've seen between it and New Zealand are the variety of delicious foodstuffs, the architecture, the heat and the fact that you have no clue what anyone is saying. Then again, now I think of it, I've been to the East Cape and felt the same way.

A day after returning from the Otago expedition and a week-long road-trip home in our 1957 Landrover, during which she had been scraping the fatty tissues from possum pelts that I had trapped and skinned, we were driving down Ferry Road after selling the furs.

I'd been silent when I decided to act on my thoughts gained in the courage of walking alone.

"So", I began, offhandedly, crunching my way up to second gear, "Want to get married?".

There was a silence for a moment, inside which I admit to feeling like a damn fool.

"Yeah, alright," she grinned, not even turning her head.

I smiled, shoved the Brit into third gear and stepped on the gas.

And who says romance is dead?

We now have two boys and our own home together, but the Landy is long gone.

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