Broking hearted: Broking in a town with 4 blokes for every woman

This Valentine's Day, we speak with Christchurch mortgage broker Maria Thackwell about being a female broker in a man's world - literally



There are four men for every woman in Christchurch, New Zealand and local mortgage broker Maria Thackwell says the newly-publicised figure is the talk of the town.

“You only need to go to the few pubs left standing and you are surrounded by big, burly men in high vis – or, in another part of the city, the officials in their suits.”

While she admits she’s taken (by a ‘wonderful man who will forget Valentine’s day’), Thackwell laughingly suggests that perhaps she should have waited a few years before settling down.

When asked if guys are flirting with her more so than before the devastating 2011 earthquake, which saw builders and tradies flood the city in droves, she modestly replies that ‘dreams are free’.

“I am probably in the ‘bit old’ segment, as there seem to be more younger men around in the construction industry. I haven’t noticed any changes in the guys I know, but perhaps the locals are feeling a bit threatened. Christchurch as a whole is a fairly conservative city and I say ‘bring it on’ - we need to lighten up.”

Thackwell says she hopes Valentines Day will be particularly lucrative for local florist and jewellery businesses, given that the number of single men around will need to compete heavily over the scarce supply of single women.

However, on a more serious note, Thackwell says she’d like to take this opportunity to send some love our way as well.

“Christchurch has been through a terribly hard couple of years; I lost my home,  and for some they are still stuck in insurance nightmares. One thing I do remember very vividly was the support the Australians gave us in our hour of need. I remember a policeman singing your national anthem but changing the words to ‘I call Christchurch home’. It still brings tears to my eyes and it made me realise how much we feel connected to each other deep down. We only try to pretend we don’t when the rugby is on, so for me it’s a big thanks guys!”

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