1News correspondent Aziz Al Sa’afin shares his picture perfect proposal

The 1News correspondent shares the details of his romantic proposal in Lapland

As far as settings go for a marriage proposal, it couldn’t have been more perfect. With a brilliant, blushing Arctic sky reflecting off a frozen lake just metres from their glass igloo in Lapland, TVNZ’s Australian correspondent Aziz Al Sa’afin knew with every fibre of his being that this was the moment he’d been waiting for to propose to the love of his life, lawyer Jake Nutt.

It sounds like something out of a Disney movie – Frozen maybe? – but as Woman’s Day sits down with the still-giddy Aziz, his happiness is real.

“I still kind of pinch myself every time I think about it,” he beams. “It was the most amazing moment of my whole life. Thank God he said yes!”

Marriage has been on the cards for Aziz, 34, and Jake, 35, ever since the pair first made things official on Valentine’s Day in 2021, with the journalist – who is now six months into his two-year assignment in Sydney, while his fiancé remains based in Auckland – sure he had met “the one” almost instantly.

And it was on their dream winter holiday in Europe late last December that Aziz decided to make things official.

“In some weird way, I always knew he was it for me,” the broadcaster tells. “So when we started joking around with a friend about where Santa comes from – Lapland, it turns out – I knew that it would be the perfect place to pop the question.”

Which is how the couple ended up in a glass igloo in northern Finland, inside the Arctic Circle, watching the Northern Lights dance above them. But unbeknown to Jake, a nervous Aziz was plotting the perfect proposal, despite a few last-minute hitches in his plan.

The TV star explains, “So the ring I designed for Jake didn’t arrive on time – in fact, even with the help of friends who couriered it around the world, it didn’t quite catch up to us. It was one day behind us the entire time!

“I’d worked with an amazing jeweller in Wellsford to create a ring with kahurangi pounamu inside. It’s the rarest form of greenstone and it’s really special to us, so I knew it had to be this taonga. But between me being based in Sydney now and the Christmas shipping rush, it didn’t make it, but no matter – I had some of the sample rings that did the job!”

Undeterred, Aziz was on the lookout for the perfect moment for the proposal – and it came on the second day of an almost-month-long trip.

“It would have been really awkward if he’d said no, eh?” laughs Aziz. “I thought the moment would come with the Northern Lights, but when we woke up that morning and saw that stunning sun – and the fact that no one else was around – I knew it was time. I’ve always trusted my gut and it was screaming at me! It was drop-dead gorgeous.”

Under the guise of setting up to take a photo, Aziz carefully propped his phone up against some snow, before taking Jake by surprise by dropping to his knee.

An Arctic sunrise was the perfect moment to put a ring on it. Lucky Jake!

“I started crying, but I made it through my speech, telling him he was my best friend, that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him and that when you meet the person that makes you feel like you can do anything in the world, you know you’ve found the right person.

“Keeping in mind that I was down on one knee on a frozen lake and it was -15 degrees, I was shaking because of the nerves but also because of the cold. But he said yes and I finally put the ring on the right finger. It was amazing!”

After a little lakeside photoshoot to mark the occasion, the happy couple celebrated with a magical reindeer sled ride, before departing for France, where they toasted their engagement with Champagne in, of course, Champagne and soaked up the romance of Paris.

Ooh la la! The sweethearts continued their love fest in France.

“What else are you supposed to do when you get engaged?” Aziz asks, grinning as he flashes his own temporary engagement bling – his most prized possession, a genuine ring that was used in the Lord Of The Rings movies. “It’s just until I get my own engagement ring!”

Now, with the backing of their excited families – including Aziz’s beloved mum Sabah, plus Jake’s mum Lyn, dad John and sister Holly – attention will turn to the wedding, although the happy couple aren’t quite sure where or when their nuptials will be just yet. Perhaps when Aziz returns to Aotearoa in 2025 and the pesky long-distance, trans-Tasman part of their relationship is over.

Woah, Blitzen! Apart from his proposal, taking a sleigh ride was a highlight for Aziz.

“Whenever it’ll be, I feel like the luckiest man in the world right now,” Aziz grins. “I don’t know if I could be happier. I’ve always loved life and I’m a glass-half-full kind of person, but right now there’s something amazing about feeling so grounded, secure and thrilled with both my work and personal life.

“I was really afraid going into my thirties, but these past few years have been the best of my life. Jake came into my life at a time when I really needed him – I don’t even think I knew how much I needed him. Now I get to spend the rest of my life with him.”

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