New Study Reveals NZ’s Favorite Terms of Endearment

Is your partner ‘babe’ or ‘baby’? A new survey from dating site EliteSingles has revealed that they’re in good company: the nickname has been voted the pet name of choice for Kiwis in love.

The study asked 500 Kiwis aged 18-70 to vote for their favourite mushy moniker and ‘babe’ (or ‘baby’) topped the results with 21% of the vote. Close behind was ‘honey’ at 20%, followed by ‘darling’ at 19%. ‘Sweetheart/sweetie’ (15%) and ‘love’ (10%) rounded out the top five.

However, it’s not the same in every part of the country. In fact, the fondness for babe might just be a big city thing: four out of our five biggest cities (Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington and Christchurch) are found in ‘babe’ regions. Those in Hamilton, along with other smaller cities and more rural areas tend to favour either honey or darling (with darling more popular in the North Island and honey in the South Island), while at the tips of the country, it’s all about love – the top nickname in both Northland and Southland.

Name:             Most popular in:

Babe               Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Manawatu-Wanganui, Wellington, Canterbury
Honey             Waikato, Malborough, Nelson, Tasman, the West Coast, Otago
Darling           Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, Taranaki
Love                Northland, Southland

EliteSingles NZ infographic about love in NZ

Three little words that we’re longing to hear

The survey also looked at that other mark of affection – saying ‘I love you.’ Respondents were asked how often they would ideally like their partner to say those three words and, as it turns out, Kiwis are an affectionate bunch: 55% would like to hear ‘I love you’ on a daily basis.

The most affectionate, however, are those Kiwis aged 30-34: a whopping 70% of that age group say that they need to hear the l-word on a daily basis.

EliteSingles psychologist Salama Marine thinks that this early-thirties need for affection might have something to do with the fact that these years are often the ones in which people start feeling an overwhelming need for security and stability: ‘’Between 30 and 34 many people are getting married or starting to build a family with their partner. It’s always during these periods of big change – wedding, children, etc – that people need reassurance that they’re making the right decisions, that everything is completely fine. Hearing “I love you” is helpful for that!“

When should you say ‘I love you?’

However, as with all things love, true success on this front comes down to the right timing. So when is the right time to first say ‘I love you’? According to New Zealanders, it’s after six months of dating: 52% of survey respondents think that this is the magic number. In comparison, 10% would want to wait for at least a year, while an eager 5% would drop the l-bomb after dating for just a week.