Story: Love and romance

Rural dances: Middlemarch ball, 2005 (2nd of 2)

Rural dances: Middlemarch ball, 2005

The Middlemarch Singles' Ball continues the tradition of rural dances pioneered by late 19th century settlers. It is often advertised as 'the matchmaking event of the year'. Large numbers of single men and women from all over New Zealand board the 'love' train from Dunedin to travel through the Taieri Gorge to the small settlement of Middlemarch for the ball.

Tickets for this popular event often sell out within a few days. People do not go as couples, and the men attending are expected to strut their stuff so the single women can assess the 'talent' on offer. Some people meet, dance and fall in love, but for many the ball is simply an excuse for a good night out with friends.

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Otago Daily Times
Photograph by Stephen Jaquiery

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How to cite this page:

Rosemary Du Plessis, 'Love and romance - Dances, love and courtship, 1840 to 1950', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 27 October 2021)

Story by Rosemary Du Plessis, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 1 May 2017