What can we expect from Married at First Sight New Zealand?

How will Three add some Kiwi flavour to the unmissable televised trainwreck that is Married at First Sight? Tara Ward has some suggestions. 

Ladies, drag that net curtain off the window. Fellas, you might like to wash and condition your facial hair, because a new reality tv franchise is about to hit our shores in a Cyclone Cook scale of idealised romance and bitter disappointment. Speak now, or forever hold your peace: it’s time to say ‘I do’ to Married at First Sight New Zealand.

This past season of MAFS Australia was a must-watch. Ten couples met their potential soul mate for at the wedding altar, and every episode burst at its seams with a compelling mix of runaway brides, fascinating singles, bizarre wedding guests and even — gasp — couples falling in love.

If you thought romance was dead, then you’d be right. The singles are matched by a trio of ‘experts’ — psychologists and psychotherapists — who select the couples based on the potential for good television millions of years of science. It’s such a technical process that the experts need a plate of Gingernuts on hand at all times. Science, may you always use your power for good.

Science is all good and well, but what will Three add to this bewitching trainwreck of a reality franchise to give it a distinctly Kiwi flavour? I pulled a chair up to the buffet table of love and scienced up a few of my own suggestions.

1) Accept that everybody in New Zealand knows everybody 

Forget bungy jumping off the Auckland Harbour Bridge, the revelation that The Bachelor NZ host Dominic Bowden dated one of the Bachelorettes was the most Kiwi thing to ever happen in the history of New Zealand reality television.

This Jono and Ben clip captures the potential struggles of a MAFS NZ. Maybe Three should rename the show ‘Married at Third or Maybe Fourth Sight’ or ‘Married at First Sight To Some Bloke My Cousin Pashed At Her Best Friend’s 21st”.

2) Replace the ‘Stay’ or ‘Leave’ cards with ‘Yeah, definitely’ and ‘Yeah, nah’

3) Include some quintessentially Kiwi ‘experts’: #1 The Prime Minister

Just whose clammy hands will carry the slippery weight of this experiment? My vote’s for the PM, who’s been married for yonks and understands exactly what makes a good Kiwi bloke tick, i.e. spaghetti and pineapple pizza. Plus he’s an expert on Dipton, and frankly there aren’t enough of those to go around. Winner winner, spaghetti dinner.

It’s also election year and what better way to speak to the values of a nation than star in a contrived reality show about two strangers getting married? John Key would have been all over this shit.


4) Change the bride and groom dinner parties to “ladies, a plate”

Can someone bring a nice cheese and pineapple hedgehog? Asking for a friend.

5) Embrace the MAFS stereotypes

The hypnotic power of MAFS lies in its unlikely pairings, meaning we can sit back and watch oil and water mix until we spontaneously combust from the science of it all. You are all cordially invited to witness the country bumpkin from Eketahuna wed the swanndri-hating Ponsonby social climber. The experts call it ‘science’, I call it ‘a shitstorm’.

6) Expert #2: Holly from The Café

Like a breath of hot air from a benchtop convection oven, Advertorial Queen Holly would bring pizazz and passion to the panel of experts, plus a really good deal on an extendable window cleaner as a wedding gift. I don’t think she’s a psychologist, but I’m pretty sure she has a deal to buy a degree for $29.95 + P&P and get a PhD thrown in for free if you ring in the next 15 minutes.

7) Include some unusual honeymoon locations

If I see another romantic Queenstown getaway I will vomit into my glass of Gibbston Valley Pinot Noir. How about some alternative honeymoon escapes for the couples, like freedom camping next to Gore’s giant trout, sitting in traffic on the Northern Motorway, or enjoying a candle-lit tour of the DEKA sign in Huntly?

8) Include some well-known brides and grooms

My pick: Chris Warner. He’s been married so many times he won’t suffer any nerves, knows a good cliffhanger when he sees one, plus he can probably recycle one of his wedding speeches. Minimal effort, maximum impact.

9) Expert #3: Louise Wallace from Real Housewives of Auckland

Journalist, actor and regular Auckland housewife, Louise Wallace doesn’t take anyone’s shit. She’ll dive deep into the steaming waters of MAFS sexual attraction and squeeze the couples until their emotional juices run dry, leaving only a tiny puddle of pith on a faux-leather couch.

Bravo, Louise, that’s exactly what I want in a reality show: pith, and plenty of it.


I’m in love with the shape of you, MAFS NZ. I thought science just eradicated disease and created explosions, but who knew it made strangers fall in love and/or hate? Now excuse me while I chuck some baking soda into a MAFS NZ test tube of hopes and dreams and watch it explode all over the nation.

Casting for Married at First Sight NZ is now open, apply here

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