Has dating actually changed?



Ahhh relationships. They are tricky wee beasts aren’t they? 

But they always have been. Yes, things are slightly different now, there are apps that can help a person find a willing participant for whatever fantasy they are in to, and sex (if you have no standards) can be obtained at but a moment's notice, but the art of dating and finding that special someone has always been a difficult task.

It has been interesting the last few days reading the articles, opinion pieces and social media comments about Heartbreak Island, and especially the mechanic that saw each contestant rank the others on the island based on a few pictures and a short bio. 

I thought about writing something on Tuesday morning, but decided against it. However now that the impassioned moaners have had their say and those jumping in to yell and scream (because they can) have ventured forth to find something else to complain about, I thought now could be an interesting time to have an actual discussion about it. And with that in mind, here we go. 

Firstly, very early in the programme on Monday night, I say how on Heartbreak Island ‘we are taking the world of online dating, offline’. I remember doing the line in Fiji, and I remember seeing it on Monday. 

This was obviously lost on a number of people as, guess what, the whole ranking thing, judging people on photos and a bio, that's how people date now! 

And for those saying it’s horrible, it is! But it is reality. Do you know how many times I have swiped right on someone (for those that have never used Tinder, right = yes I am keen) only to never get a match from them… Thousands! Well, maybe hundreds. I haven’t used Tinder that much. 

For those of us still in the dating pool, this rejection is a daily occurrence. Never used Tinder? Met your husband/wife in a bar? This will be completely foreign to you, and therefore perhaps I understand what happened on H.I on Monday is your worst nightmare. But you know what, for those of us still swimming in the pool, this is our lives! 

Is it right? No! I’m bloody awesome. I have an incredible personality, can cook and clean, have amazing family and friends, an alright career, and yet hundreds have declined me on Tinder because of the way my eyes are deposited in my face and the size of my ears in proportion to my nose! It sucks. But again it is reality, and you know what, it is nothing new! 

Let's cast our minds back to the 1980s when the internet and mobile phones weren’t a thing and meeting friends meant catching up with them at a certain place at an exact time - I wasn’t around then, but this is how I am told things worked, and when dating was done in bars.

Are all the people deriding Heartbreak Island meaning to tell me back then, and prior, if someone approached someone in a bar, no matter what they looked like, the approached would always take the time to delve deep into the approacher’s personality so as to find out whether or not he or she was a suitable match? 


The bar in the 80s worked the same as the dance hall in the 30s. The ‘hotties’ got the whatever or whoever they wanted while the ‘uglies’ or those deemed ‘not as attractive’ languished in corners. 

And so what is the difference now? There is no difference. People have been getting rejected since evolution began (or God put us here 5000 years ago, whatever you prefer). And so what happened on Heartbreak Island on Monday night is nothing new. 

It’s the time-old tradition of the beautiful being championed, while those deemed not as beautiful are… well, present. 

But, and this is kinda the point missed by many, no one on the island was dismissing Ella or Tavita completely, just their pictures, the way they had marketed themselves! 

In the same way so many have dismissed me - and will dismiss me in the future. Bastards! 

Which brings me to my next point, and one that has been thrown around online a bit the last couple of days. Should this sort of carry on be on TV? 

Many argue that no it shouldn’t, as it means ‘children’ or ‘young people’ are shown a world in which being beautiful is key to success, vanity is held in higher regard than intelligence and integrity. 

Sure, I see where you are coming from but, IT IS! 

The world does hold beauty above brains. It always has, it probably always will. 

Again, I don’t think it’s right, but that’s the way it is! 

And so the argument continues, even so, it shouldn’t be on out TV screens.

And then what? Kids grow up thinking that brains trump beauty every time only to get out in the ‘real world’, out from under Mum & Dad’s wings, only to discover the complete opposite? 

And it is this I would love to hear your thoughts on, what is best? Depict reality, or depict a lie? 

I don’t have kids so I can only look at my own experiences. If you think it took me to see a TV show to learn that beauty and popularity meant currency in this world, you are dead wrong. This was obvious to me at primary school. Probably kindergarten. This reality being depicted on a TV show wouldn’t have spoiled my mind as a kid, as I am sure it isn’t young people now. It will just be reinforcing an idea that exists all around us from the day we are born.

But enough from me, what do you think? 

Has dating actually changed? Or is it the same as it’s always been? And how about the realities of dating being depicted on TV, better to show real life? Or pretend it doesn’t exist? 

I look forward to reading your thoughts on my Facebook page

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Life Update #2: Heartbreak Island

The cast of Heartbreak Island 2018

The cast of Heartbreak Island 2018

I feel like every time I sit down to write one of these I think and/or write the following: 

a. It has been a really long time since i've done this, bad Mark!

b. Why are you still not travelling overseas?!?

For those of you that have been reading my very intermittent rumblings, you’ll know 2018 was to meant to be another year galavanting the globe, visiting parts unknown (RIP A.B), and catching up with far-flung friends. 

However aside from a couple of quick trips across to Australia, I’ve just been in New Zealand.


Whoops, annnnnnnnd Fiji. Genuinely forgot about Fiji. Idiot. 

And of course that six weeks in Fiji filming Heartbreak Island. Hmmmm.

But before we get to that, the travel. 

The travel hasn’t happened yet as I have ended up working full time in a business a friend and I started a couple of years back. Well at least started investigating a couple of years back. A business that, in the last few months, has required my full attention. I can’t say too much more but hopefully that will change in the near future. We just need a couple more things fall into place, and then we are away! 

It is bloody exciting though. It is bigger than anything I have ever attempted to do before. And if (/when) it happens, it has the potential to change many, many people's lives. 

I’ll keep you posted. 

And now to Heartbreak. 

Well, here we are! I can’t believe it is about to be on TV! I can’t believe it is June and it’s all about to go down… Where has the year gone? 

Although I have had some ongoing Heartbreak work since getting back from Fiji, the whole experience really does feel like something from another lifetime.

Having being so engrossed in all of the happenings on the island for the entirety of filming, the world of Heartbreak being my be-all and end-all for those six weeks, it was odd flying back to Auckland to nothing. No job, well no full-time one. No more contestants (so no more gossiping about their every more). No crew.  It was (and I hate to use the analogy) like waking up from a dream. It took some adjusting. 

And so the last two-to-three weeks have been stranger still as I have found myself back in the world of Heartbreak, reliving that past life. 

It has been fun reminiscing. It’s been great seeing lots of Matilda again, and the crew that shot the show - the crew that are yet to get a break. They have been tirelessly editing the hours and hours of footage in preparation of the show going to air! You can’t even begin to imagine the size of this job. Multiple cameras filming 24/7 for six weeks… ugh! 

It’s also been fun catching up with just about everyone I have ever worked with in radio/print over the last 10 years to talk to them about the show and what to expect. 

It is so odd sitting in a radio studio and being interviewed though. Since I was 19 I have always been the interviewer. The one on the side of the buttons, not opposite. Great fun though. I am incredibly appreciative of all the support all my old colleagues have shown too. All very sweet. 

…cue next week when they start slating my performance on TV. HaHaHa! Do your worst I say, nothing will compare to talkback!

So to the show itself as I am now finally allowed to talk about it.

First things first, as it seems to have been the focus for many, yes the contestants do have sex with each other. But, this is a TV show for TVNZ2 at 7:30pm, you are not going to see that happening. Therefore, it is safe for your kids to watch. Even the uncut edition on Friday nights (TVNZ2 at 9:30pm), it is still going on TV. There isn’t full-frontal nudity (at least to the best of my knowledge) however there will be nods to who is sleeping with who and whatnot.

The show was incredibly fun to film and as I stated earlier was all encompassing (in a good way). Every one of the crew was hanging out each morning to find out what had happened overnight - whose relationships were fraying, whose were alight with… errrr, passion? 

And apparently during filming we were only aware of about 20% of what was happening. So much more has been revealed in the edit. One of the producers said to me recently, “You thought there was drama on the island, wait till you see it on TV.” And so, even though I know what happens, I know who wins, I cannot wait to see it. 

I did (finally) get to see episode one on Friday… and beyond the horribleness of seeing myself on TV (hearing myself on the radio I am used to, seeing myself on TV - not so much), it was great. 

So many laughs. So many awkward groans - some of the things that came out of the contestants mouths… I know some of them entered Heartbreak Island to find love, some for the money, and some (and have fun picking these ones out) to become Insta famous and live out the rest of their lives in the social pages. Only time will tell if they succeed, or live to regret their decision to participate. 

I’m not massive on regrets, but I do feel like a couple of contestants may walk away from this thinking they maybe shouldn’t have, or at the very least should've played things differently. You’ll see...

The lesson that was reinforced to me over the course of filming was that you really are best to be yourself. Pretending will only get you so far.

There will be laughter, there will be tears, there will be drama and (potentially most importantly) there will be real romance! It is of course entertainment but it is also an insight into the lives and the inner workings of a group of 20-somethings in 2018. For those not in that age bracket, it will give you a sneak peek into it, and for those in or around the age group, perhaps a moment (or moments) to reflect. And although the situation is very different from my day-to-day reality and no doubt yours, the same themes that criss-cross our own lives, criss-cross the contestants during filming. And so as crazy as it sounds, there will be parallels with your own life - no matter your age. How you deal and/or have dealt with love, rejection, disappointment etc. The show will be the spark for countless conversations I am sure...

Anyway, I am burbling now. For those of you that watch, I hope you enjoy and I look forward to hearing your thoughts - both positive and negative.

Heartbreak Island screens on TNVZ2 Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:30pm

Heartbreak Island Uncut screens on TVNZ2 on Fridays at 9:30pm and again on Duke on Sunday night at 9:00pm

ps Fingers crossed I get something else up on this blog before Christmas.

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Finally! I am allowed to tell you...

Matilda Rice and, well, me.

Matilda Rice and, well, me.

Secrets. I hate keeping them. Especially secrets about things that are somewhat exciting. 

So with that in mind I am beyond happy that I can finally talk about this one. You have no idea how hard it has been keeping my mouth shut about this...

As you may have read in the NZ Herald this morning, next year (along with the lovely Matilda Rice), I am going to be the host of TVNZ2’s new entertainment show Heartbreak Island. 

What is Heartbreak Island? Its an original concept that will see a group of singles take up residence on a tropical island in the hope of finding love and winning $100,000. That’s pretty much all I can tell you right now, and to be honest, I don’t really know much more. 

Basically I got a call asking me if I wanted to host a TV show that was going to be filmed on a tropical island over 5 or 6 weeks, and without really thinking or asking any questions, I said yes! 

I mean, why wouldn't you? 

To say I was/am stoked is the understatement of the century. I cannot wait.

Gonna preempt a question now. No, this isn’t why I left Newstalk ZB. This wasn’t even on my radar prior to me handing in my notice. As I have mentioned to you previously, the plan next year was to go travelling again. This opportunity came along about a month or so ago. Was it fate? Luck? Good timing? I don't know, but I love whoever or whatever is responsible.

Initially when the producers were pitching the show to me I thought they were asking me to be on it, as a contestant - which I wouldn’t have been that keen on. But to host, to watch the action unfold before my eyes, oooooooooh yes, I cannot wait!

So there we go. Not only is 2018 gonna see my return to the world of travel, hopefully knocking off a handful of countries in this here world of ours, (and thus writing some interesting travel blogs for you to read along the way) it is also gonna see me co-host a primetime TV show on TVNZ. Waaaaaahooooooooooooo 2018! 

ps click here to join my mailing list and never miss a blog post.... promise to keep you as up-to-date as I am allowed re: Heartbreak Island.