Masters match-up morphing into marriage

Darren Hanson and Fiona Lowrey are getting married in two weeks, after meeting at the Masters...
Darren Hanson and Fiona Lowrey are getting married in two weeks, after meeting at the Masters Games 10 years ago. PHOTO: LAURA HEWSON
This is the story of Darryl and Melissa.

They are two hard cases from separate worlds, who met on the dance floor at the Masters Games opening ceremony 10 years ago, and as luck would have it, lived happily ever after.

Except they were neither Darryl or Melissa - in fact they were Darren Hanson and Fiona Lowrey, whose names got misconstrued when his football team, and her netball team, tried to suss the new love interests out.

After some fine tuning, their names got straightened out, and now the happy couple are getting married, after Lowrey passed her "nine year trial", as Hanson puts it.

They have come a long way since Lowrey accidentally spilt her drink on Hanson on the dance floor, and apologised profusely as they started chatting away.

Except Hanson tells the tale slightly differently, recalling that Lowrey eyed him up and deliberately threw her drink at him to strike up a conversation.

Either way, the rest is history.

The pair started long distance - Hanson making the trip every other weekend from Timaru to Lowrey’s home in Nelson - before they both decided to settle in Rolleston together.

Lowrey moved with her two older daughters, Ashleigh and Mikayla, and her and Hanson had since had their own daughters, Aria (7) and Isla (5), who played a key role in helping their father propose on Valentine’s Day last year.

Hanson sent the two girls to their mother’s workplace, one holding a bouquet of roses and the other a card, which inside had inscribed "after nine years on trial, I’m hoping you will marry me".

Despite thinking it was slightly cheesy and questioning why he got their daughters to ask her at work - Hanson reasoned she would never suspect a proposal at work and knew she could not say no to their daughters - Lowrey accepted, and the couple are getting married in two weeks.

"I guess it’s one of those stories you hear about, but we probably never expected it to be us", Lowery said.

The Masters Games had been a mainstay in their relationship, Lowery linking up with her now walking netball team and Hanson’s football team in Dunedin every time.

Unlike their meeting 10 years ago, there is strictly no romance during the games. They barely see each other as they spend time with their friends.

But both teams played a big part in their relationships through the years, forming a strong bond and becoming an extended family.