Dick Richards analyses what dating apps are offering gay and bisexual men in the different parts of Aotearoa New Zealand.

A friend of mine moved to Auckland with a dream – to find a career and a man. Instead, he left with a broken heart and an STI. Theres nothing particularly heinous about him, so I know he cant be the only one. Lucky for him, he found the man of his dreams in a city far far away from the gay mecca of New Zealand. How does that work, though? Auckland has the biggest population of people and so would have the biggest queer community, yet so many of us are single, hitting the clubs, scrolling the apps and fucking randoms in bushes.

If youre queer, single and wanting to date, are you fucked if you dont live in the main cities of New Zealand? Its obvious the queer percentage of people goes down in rural areas and small towns, hence why most of the gays will relocate. But what do you do if youre queer and single and live in Glenorchy? Drive to Queenstown and fuck a tourist? Hope that youll meet someone special at Winter Pride and convince them to move? Or do you just settle for single life and get a puppy?


If youve ever done a roady around Aotearoa and opened Grindr, youll see a pattern. Copious amounts of blank profiles start appearing as soon as youre 20kms out of a main city. You might even start seeing themes. Lots of closeted married men in farming areas, older profiles further south, and kinky fetishes in beachside towns. In Christchurch, it seems there are lots of us wanting a partner, yet in Auckland, most of us are just wanting a root. Maybe Wellington is the equilibrium – even though there seems to be a shortage of tops between the aged under 40 in the capital.

If I wanted a guy who is into free love, free-range foods and wears hemp trousers, Id probably move to Raglan or the Tasman. If I wanted a businessman with a mortgage, then Id say Auckland or Wellington. It seems different districts offer different assets. Im aware these are major generalisations, but theres no denying theres some truth to them.

Different locations offer different attractions, and its the same with the people. Speed dating in Masterton is going to be unlike speed dating in Auckland. Obviously, because of the population, but mostly because of the lifestyle and culture. Like it or not, straights,’ us queers are everywhere, and sometimes where we are location-wise can dictate what we want or feel safe getting.

Theres no denying Auckland is the main hub for us rainbow folk, and it makes sense thats the place where we can experiment and be a little selfish with our hook-ups. Maybe thats the reason so many of us gays are leaving and looking for something more somewhere else. Because if you want something to change, you have to make a change. The important thing is that wherever you are in Aotearoa, you dont lose hope – because its the only thing youve got when it comes to dating.