Real Life Love Stories: Sean Patrick Mahoney & Tautahi Subritzky

As a Valentine's Day tribute, creative duo Sean and Tautahi share their love story


Sean Patrick Mahoney and Tautahi Subritzky at their Grey Lynn home. Photo / Rebecca Zephyr Thomas

Hair stylist Sean Patrick Mahoney and fashion stylist Tautahi Subritzky say they met the old fashioned way ... on Grindr. Since their first date at Madame George three years ago, they’ve become a “great team”.

As a stylist at Colleen, Sean is on the salon floor most days, and works alongside fashion designers, stylists and photographers to create hair looks for campaigns, editorial shoots and runway shows. He and Tautahi have the industry in common — Tautahi works as a freelance stylist curating fashion looks for the runway, campaigns, video and advertising shoots — as well as managing Zambesi in Parnell.

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“I think we both understand the demands and complexities of this industry, and it’s so helpful to have someone to bounce ideas off or think about things from a different perspective,” says Tau. The creative duo live in a “dream house” in Grey Lynn with another dynamic pair — Emma Lyell and Tane Williams of Bestie and Baby Cafes.

Do you remember what your first impression of each other was?
Sean: Firstly, his outfit was flawless. Secondly, I learned what a social butterfly he was, having met a large group of his friends in the middle of our first date. I loved that he was loved.
Tau: He was tall, handsome and confident, and also didn’t mind sharing our first date with a table of friends.

What attracted you to them initially?
Sean: Tau’s style and demeanour, his quiet confidence. I had seen him backstage at NZ Fashion Week a year earlier and had admired him from afar. He stood out in the crowd.
Tau: How easy it was to have a conversation with him ... is that cheesy? He also has the best smile and the most powerful laugh you’ll ever hear.

What’s your favourite activity to do together?
Tau: We’re both social people, so anything that involves us and our friends is usually what we love to do. Whether that be heading down to Sean’s family home in Tauranga with friends for the weekend, or visiting friends at home in the “triangle” of Grey Lynn and Ponsonby.

Does working in similar fields help or hinder your relationship?
Sean: Of course it helps, Tau’s spent most of his life in Auckland and has introduced me to another network of creatives and like-minded people, which I’m very grateful for. I enjoy collaborating with him. I think we inspire each other and we’re a great team.

Sean and Tautahi both work in similar fields. Photo / Rebecca Zephyr Thomas

What’s the most romantic thing you’ve done for each other?
Tau: Neither of us are terribly romantic. Sean loves to cook so romance is expressed in making a meal for the two of us, we’ll organise a date night and go for a drink somewhere or have an impromptu movie night. We don’t often make large romantic gestures, they’re often just everyday things that involve us spending time together.

What’s the biggest thing you have learned from each other?
Sean: Quiet time is necessary. He’s taught me about having a more balanced life. Relaxing has never been my strong point.
Tau: To be more conscious of the relationships I have, whether that be professional or personal. I can be quite an insular person but Sean reminds me to express my feelings and communicate.

What’s your partner’s best physical trait?
Sean: His hands, they’re beautiful.
Tau: Those pins and that smile.

What do you admire most about them?
Sean: I admire his upbringing and what it has made him. He’s independent, intelligent and rational.
Tau: Sean’s drive, he’s such a hard-working person and knows what direction he’s headed.

Do they have any annoying habits?
Sean: He watches so many cooking shows but never cooks. This is partly my fault because the kitchen is my domain. Oh, and he eats popcorn in bed.
Tau: He’s a clean freak. Most of Sunday is put aside to wipe every surface in the house. This might not seem like an annoying habit but the personality that comes with it, watch out!

Why do you work as a couple?
Tau: We don’t “need” each other, we “want” to spend our time together. Because we give each other the space to breathe, the time we spend together is special. We’re both 100 per cent individuals in our relationship.

What’s the greatest challenge that you’ve faced as a couple?
Sean: A death in the family a year ago was a hard thing to watch Tau and his family go through. We got through it the only way we knew how. I love Tau and was his constant support.
Tau: Having lost my grandmother a year ago, Sean was my rock. Naturally, I was heartbroken and he was there for me and my family always.

Have you been given any great relationship advice that you can share?
Sean: A good relationship is built on honesty. Honesty is the best policy (which is a total cliche). We also try to not take things too seriously and have a good laugh at each other often.

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