Valentine's Day: Seven Couples Share Their Secret To Love & Happiness

Ahead of V Day, seven Auckland couples share what they love about each other most, and what makes their relationship tick

From left: Raukura Turei (architect and artist) and Mokonuiarangi Smith (traditional ta moko artist) and baby Hinauri Paekitawhiti Turei-Yates. Photo / Babiche Martens

Sometimes it’s easy to forget to tell your nearest and dearest just how much they mean to you; we’re all so caught up in this business called life. So though many might dismiss Valentine’s Day as commercial mush, it does serve to give us all a gentle nudge to focus on what’s meaningful.

READ: Break The Ice With These Creative Date Ideas Around Auckland

These seven gorgeous couples have generously shared with us the secrets of their relationships and what they think is important. And while Valentine’s Day may be a time to acknowledge those special to us with grand gestures, it really is the little things we do every day that truly count. 

RAUKURA & MOKONUIARANGI (pictured, above)
Raukura Turei (architect and artist) and Mokonuiarangi Smith (traditional ta moko artist) and baby Hinauri Paekitawhiti Turei-Yates, together two years.

He aha tetahi mea e ngakau nui ana ki a koe no to whaiaipo? (What’s something you love about one another?)
Raukura: Ko etahi o nga ahuatanga e ngakaunui ana au mona, ko tona aronga ki tona taha Maori, me tona tino ngakau mahaki. E minaka ana hoki ko tona tinana!

(I love his passion for his Maoritanga, through both language and spirituality, and his calm, almost delicate nature. I also love his body!)

Moko: Kia tika nei te korero, tuatahi ra ko te ataahua anRaukura ki te tirohanga karu…i kite tuatahi i a ia ki te kiriata a Dead Lands, kaore he nui te kakahu e huna ana i te kiri maori ra. Tua rua mai ko te miharo o ana mahi toi, te hohonu, te whanui, te rerehua. I nga marama e toru kua taha ake nei kua hohonu ake te aroha i te kite i tona momo poipoi i te to maua nei piripoho.

(To be honest I was first crushing on Raukura because of her looks… I first saw her in The Dead Lands film and she wasn’t wearing much to hide that Maori skin. When we met and got to know each other I was taken by her art and amazing creative power. In these last three months I have fallen in love again seeing how she has stepped into motherhood.)

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Ka pehea ta korua noho tahi? (How do you make your relationship work?)
Raukura: Ko to maua maringa nui, he tino ngawari to maua noho tahi. E arotau ana maua tahi ki nga mahi toi me te whangai i rnei o a maua nei pukenga. Kaore hoki a Moko i te whakama ki te tautetete mai i aku nei mahi he.

(I guess we are lucky in that now we have surrendered to being together it's been really easy. We are both drawn to making and feed into each other's creativity. Moko is also very intuitive and will be straight-up if I try to pull something that doesn't fly with him, and I’d like to think vice versa.)

Moko: He mama noa ta maua nei noho tahi. He orite te hoe i te waka, ko au ki te taha maui ko ia ki te taha katau, a, ka huri te taha, ka totika te rere. He rite nei nga aronga, ko nga mahi toi, ko te kori tinana, ko te whanau me nga hoa, ko te taiao me te ao maori nga paenga oneone o tenei waka. Ka hapai nei maua i a maua kia rere pai ki konei ki kona.

(Living together is easy. Rau and I both paddle our side of the waka and change sides when we need to. We both juggle the same balls, between our own art practices, keeping fit, hangs with friends and whanau, getting outside and being in the Maori world. We help each other with the juggle so it's all good.)

(From left) Ryland Wood (managing director and co-founder of Be. distributors) and Danny Pato (creative director and co-owner of D&M Hair Design). Photo / Babiche Martens

Ryland Wood (managing director and co-founder of Be. distributors) and Danny Pato (creative director and co-owner of D&M Hair Design), together for more than 10 years.

What's something you love about one another?
 His patience, kindness and how clever he is.

Ryland: His passion, his smile and his unwavering dedication to everything he does.

How do you make your relationship work?
Time is precious with us both running our own companies, so we try to stick to a weekly date night and hijack each other’s work trips.

Ryland: Like most relationships I guess, we’re always working to figure that out.

Both: This year, we’ll be spending Valentine’s Day having a gorgeous dinner with a dear friend in Madrid, where we’ll be for the 2020 International Hairdressing Awards.

(From left) Ant Timpson (film director) and Rebecca Wadey (former communications manager). Photo / Babiche Martens

Ant Timpson (film director) and Rebecca Wadey (former communications manager), together 17 years.

How did you meet?
Rebecca: We met at a party at stylist/photographer Karen Inderbitzen-Waller’s house 17 years ago. Six weeks later I was diagnosed with breast cancer so the romantic courtship was brief! Any fears I’d had about dating someone 10 years older were put into perspective when suddenly I was minus a breast and my hair.

Ant:  Well that's my modus operandi. Find the cutest girl most likely to have a life threatening disease and then hang on tight. This might not work for everyone but it worked for me.

What’s something you love about one another?
Rebecca: I love everything about him. Except for his inability to do a load of washing in its entirety.

Ant: The sheer fact that I’m here today [getting this photo taken] speaks louder than any whimsical adoration that I could come up with on the spot.

How do you make your relationship work?
I mean, I miss Ant if he goes to the dairy. But I also love having space from him. He spent a good chunk of time out of the country when he was shooting his film Come to Daddy (starring Elijah Wood, in New Zealand cinemas Feb 27). I did everything I could to make it work from a family perspective. And similarly, when he’s around he does everything in his power to make my life easier. We’re a true partnership yet largely independent. It works (so far!)

Ant: Actually work is what is what it's all about. Making a relationship work is hard work. So if we didn't have lots of love, laughs and life's curveballs along the way then it'd seem like a job at times. A job with no pay. And those are the worst kind!

(From left) Possum Plows (musician) and Rosemary Mitford-Taylor (retail assistant at Auckland Art Gallery). Photo / Babiche Martens

Possum Plows (musician) and Rosemary Mitford-Taylor (retail assistant at Auckland Art Gallery), together officially one-and-a-half years.

When did you start dating?
Possum: We were casually dating “long distance” between Wellington and Auckland since we met three years ago and our connection grew stronger each time we saw each other until it became super obvious we were meant to be together, (which coincidentally was also when we saw The Muppets perform live!)

How did you meet?
My best friend was going to Wellington for Ro’s birthday party and I tagged along and crashed it basically! As soon as I saw her I was mesmerised by how charismatic and beautiful she was and we stayed up the whole night talking.

What's something you love about one another?
Possum balances me out in ways I would never have hoped for because it would have seemed like ridiculously unrealistic expectations! A stunning, compassionate, creative, secretly silly, master chef, Disneyland-loving emo faerie? Way too good to be true! They’re incredibly emotionally intelligent; I love how they’re always thinking about how they can be helpful and kind. Possum is an amazing performer and artist, they have an intoxicating vibrant energy that comes out in full force on stage. We really bring out the best in each other and I love who we are together!

Possum: One of the things that drew me to Ro is how passionate she is. She expresses her beliefs and feelings with an enthusiasm I haven’t seen in anyone else. We share very similar values and we are constantly encouraging and inspiring each other to live to the values more wholeheartedly. She is incredibly thoughtful, creative and magnetic, and we have so much fun being together! Every day with her is full of joy and laughter and magic.

How do you make your relationship work?
We’re very practiced at communicating our feelings, checking in with each other and addressing problems as soon as they come up, no matter how small. We honestly don’t need to compromise on much because we usually want to do the same things.

Rosemary: We’re also both quite romantic and affectionate — so not only do we compliment each other but we complement each other very well too!

(From left) Sammy Abu-Hijab (massage therapist) and Leah Pao (model and recruiter). Photo / Babiche Martens

Sammy Abu-Hijab (massage therapist) and Leah Pao (model and recruiter), together four months.

What's something you love about one another?
I love how secure Sammy is with himself. He knows who he is and I find it so attractive when someone else is as comfortable in their skin as I am. It leaves no room for insecurity so we just hella have fun together. I love the way he loves me and lets me be me — not many people besides my family can handle my wild ways so to have him beside me is an amazing feeling.

Sammy: I love so many things about my baby. I love her heart. I love her smile. I love her bomb skin. I love how she is with her family. I love how humble and nice she is when people she doesn't even know tell her that they love her (I would know, I have to stand there awkwardly and wait). I love her accent when she talks and all the slang she uses. I love her taste in music. I love her ass. I love her style, and above all... I love how she is always 100 per cent her true self — that's the most attractive quality my babe got!

How do you make your relationship work?
Being secure within ourselves definitely keeps the wheels turning in this relationship. There’s no room for petty insecure shit so we hardly have drama (of course, if there is, I’m the one crying because I love a good role play). Also I think both our competitive nature keeps things fun. We both hate losing so this relationship will continue to work or we both lose.

Sammy: We aren’t afraid to act silly around each other which keeps things fun. We push each other to stay on top as we are both competitive which I love. She welcomed me into her family and everyone is super cool and nice. When we do get upset with each other, we do a really good job of giving space when needed but always end up talking out our issues which is really important. We know deep down that we have each other's back through thick and thin.

(From left) Sarah Fabrin (artists’ manager) and Harry Pettit (music promoter). Photo / Babiche Martens

Sarah Fabrin (artists’ manager) and Harry Pettit (music promoter), together for about three years.

How did you meet?
Sarah: I was working for a music management company and we had some shared working space we were wanting to lease out. He got in contact (slid into my DM’s) and said he and his ‘team’ were interested in the space. I proceeded to give them tours of the studios and spaces, write up contracts and organise car park spaces. In the end it was all a ploy to ask me out at the end of an email. Let just say they never took the space but here Harry and I  are two or three years later (we can’t remember exactly when we met).

What's something you love about one another?
Harry is one of the most generous people I know. He puts so much of his time, resources and energy into so many around him. He genuinely just wants everyone around him to succeed and if he can help with that in any way he will be the first to put his hand up. But most of all, he makes me laugh until I cry multiple times a day, so that makes life with him pretty sweet.

Harry: How Sarah always manages to light up the room and improve peoples days even if they're going horribly wrong.

How do you make your relationship work?
Sarah: It probably sounds cliche, but I would have to say communication. Harry is always challenging me to be as honest as I can. When you see a person in their true light, that’s where you can really love what they have to offer. But also for us, because we work in the same industry at the moment, making space for quality time outside of work-related things is really important.

(From left) Fang Wei (interior designer) and Pablo Arrasco Paz (architect and owner/operator of Madame George). Photo / Babiche Martens

Fang Wei (interior designer) and Pablo Arrasco Paz (architect and owner/operator of Madame George), together seven years and married for four.

What's something you love about one another?
Fang: I admire his compassion and love for others. Sometimes he may not be feeling his best or having the best time but he is still able to smile and give others his full attention.

Pablo: I love the serious looks Fang gives me sometimes, her poker face look, and I love it when — sometimes — I do manage to make her laugh. I love hearing her laugh.

How do you make your relationship work?
We share our faith. Faith is what got us through some of the toughest times in our lives before we met. Now it forms an important part of our relationship as it has affects how we work through things together - good times and bad times.

Pablo: I had to learn to vacuum. I find myself doing it even when it’s not my day to vacuum, because I know it makes her happy. I do try to avoid vacuuming the stairs though — I only vacuum the stairs when she’s watching!

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