Auckland's 'terrible' dating scene debated on Reddit as singletons bemoan 'lack of effort', aversion to 'genuine emotion'

While there are plenty of pros to living in Auckland, there are also some definite drawbacks: the traffic, exorbitant house prices, and notoriously problematic public transport, just to name a few.

But according to singletons of the Super City, dating in Tāmaki Makaurau is also a particular pain point - and it's not only Kiwis who are griping. In a viral TikTok video last year, a young American content creator shared the major culture shocks he had encountered since moving to Auckland, which included the city's dating scene - branding it "the worst I've ever experienced".

"You will not find a boyfriend or girlfriend here, I've given up - like no."  

Sexual racism on New Zealand's dating scene is also well-documented. In 2021, Newshub investigated the "blatant discrimination" across dating apps in Aotearoa, with minority men and women finding it increasingly difficult to connect with potential romantic partners.  

And now, Aucklanders are once again weighing in on the lack of love, with one disgruntled Redditor taking to the r/auckland forum on Monday to bemoan the city's apparent shortfall in eligible singletons.

Titling their post, "Dating in Auckland is the worst," the user wrote: "A 'what are you doing this evening' sent at 6pm after three messages is not going to make me drop everything and go for a drink with you. It's certainly not going to make me race to your place for a very lacklustre evening when my profile makes it very clear that's not what I'm into."

They continued: "Mentioning your Jordan Peterson phase on a first date and telling me he's 'not as bad as everyone says' is not going to get you a second date. Asking me if I want to get married and have kids 15 minutes into a first date (when we're both under 25) is not going to get you a second date.  

"Insisting on paying when I tell you and the waiter I want to split the bill isn't gentlemanly, it's just making it awkward for everyone involved. And it's not a personal slight against you either.  

"And for the love of god, stop putting dead animals on your Tinder profile. I do not want to see a dead boar while I'm swiping at lunch.  

"I honestly can't understand the thought processes of 90 percent of the dudes I speak to. It's either 'sleep with me' or 'marry me'. Like take a girl out for coffee once or twice first, is that too much to ask?"  

Teenage boy pretending to yawn in the movie theater to put his arm around date - stock photo
It appears many Aucklanders - and foreigners - are less than impressed with the city's dating scene. Photo credit: Getty Images

The post - which has since been removed by the moderators of r/auckland - quickly attracted commentary from other Redditors, amassing over 580 comments and 360 upvotes at the time of writing.  

While many backed the original poster's take, it also inevitably prompted strong backlash, primarily from male users - perhaps those among Jordan Peterson's fanbase.

Foreigners also weighed in on the discussion, with several agreeing that dating in New Zealand had been difficult, citing a lack of "effort" and "genuine emotion" in Kiwi culture.

"When I was single and dating, it was really difficult to find someone who was normal. I got stalked and harassed just after one date with some of those men. I think my friends who had luck on Tinder talked to potential dates for a few weeks before meeting up. That kind of weeds out the fake people and those who just want a hook up," one agreed.  

"As a single male moving to Auckland, I clicked on this post title apprehensively and then could breathe a sigh of relief... If most of the competition are as you describe or like the other dudes in the comments, perhaps I'll have some luck. My condolences though," said another.  

"Comments here are worrying, all ownership and objectification, that's what the world is pushing - not people actually just enjoying getting to know each other. NZ has emotional issues and it shows up hard in the dating scene (only advice is to move to Europe)," a third weighed in, while a fourth added: "I'm a foreigner, and the lack of effort is so horrendous here. Like, why're Kiwis so allergic to effort and genuine emotions?"  

A fifth shared: "It's especially tough for immigrants like me who don't have the advantage of having a well-established social circle to meet people through friends of friends. Your only option then turns to OLD [online dating] which then becomes a vicious circle of losing self-esteem, deleting the apps and then reinstalling them. I've pretty much lost all hope I'm going to find someone."  

"Has ANYONE in this city had luck with online dating? I've found it terrible compared to just meeting people in person, which is pretty difficult to do consistently in of itself," another said.  

Others called out the OP for generalising based on the dates they had experienced through Tinder, with one arguing that many decent people are unsuccessful on dating apps due to their profiles - which are inherently based on physical attraction - being overlooked.

Four months ago, another Aucklander took to Reddit to pose the question: "Is [the] Auckland dating scene so hard because everyone is leaving Auckland?"  

And last year, a British expat living in Aotearoa caused a stir on social media after sharing how difficult they find the cultural differences between New Zealanders and Brits, admitting they had struggled to form "fulfilling" friendships since arriving in the country four years ago.