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TVNZ star Jordan’s romantic engagement

Sports reporter Jordan Oppert is excited to be marrying her best mate
Pictures: Tessa Burrows

Sports reporter Jordan Oppert had just finished working a Sunday shift for TVNZ when she got a message from her partner Cameron “Scruffy” Hardwick to say there was a surprise waiting for her outside when she got home.

“We’d just set up our outdoor entertaining area, so I thought Scruffy must have bought an umbrella,” recalls Jordan, 27. “I was in shock when I got home. I saw the outdoor area looking so lovely and realised he was going to propose. The whole thing was a happy blur. I could hardly speak!”

Electrician Cameron – known to all as “Scruffy” since intermediate school – had endured a nervous wait for Jordan in their Canterbury backyard with the couple’s eight-month-old golden retriever Warnie.

He tells, “It felt right to propose at home, in this special place we’ve created, so I did a wee set-up on the lawn for a surprise outdoor proposal. Safe to say, I got her good.”

Jordan Oppert with partner Scruffy standing behind her, arms around her

Once Jordan arrived home to see her two favourite boys and the stunning diamond solitaire ring Cameron, 30, was holding, she didn’t hesitate to say yes.

“The proposal was perfect and just so Scruffy,” she smiles. “I was super-happy.”

The couple’s feelings of joy were also tinged with sadness. They weren’t able to share the news with Jordan’s much-loved father Kelvin, who passed away from bowel cancer last October.

Jordan says, “Dad loved us together as a couple and loved Scruffy. He would have been so stoked about our engagement and probably would have had t-shirts made!”

After the proposal, Cameron was finally able to reveal to Jordan just how long his engagement plans had been in motion. With Jordan’s dad so unwell, it wasn’t easy to find the right moment to pop the question.

Jordan Oppert and father Kelvin on a beach in Rarotonga
A last special holiday with her dad Kelvin.

But back in September, Kelvin had an unexpected break from chemotherapy. Doctors gave him the all-clear to travel to Rarotonga for a special family holiday, accompanied by Jordan, Cameron, Jordan’s mum Michelle and her brother Kerwyn.

“We had such precious time together as a family with Dad. We even got to snorkel up close to some turtles with him, which was an amazing experience,” recalls Jordan.

After they got back from Rarotonga, Cameron decided to put his proposal plan into action. The family knew their time with Kelvin was limited by this time. However, Cameron hoped there’d be time for him to share in the joy of their engagement. He ordered a ring, but while he was waiting for it to arrive, Kelvin’s health suddenly declined.

“I picked the ring up on the Thursday and Kelvin sadly passed away the following Tuesday,” he reveals. “We never got to have the official conversation where I asked for his permission.”

With the family grief-stricken at the sudden loss of Kelvin, Cameron shelved his plans. He put the engagement ring inside the pocket of a Swanndri and popped it in the spare bedroom cupboard.

“I’d been asking Scruffy to clean that cupboard for months and it turns out the ring was in there all along,” laughs Jordan. “If I’d cleaned it out myself, I probably would have found it!”

Then, one Sunday in January, three months after Kelvin’s passing, Scruffy decided the time was finally right. Before setting up the backyard, he phoned Jordan’s brother Kerwyn to ask his permission.

“It had been such a sad time, but getting engaged felt like a way we could start the new year on a high,” he tells.

The couple decided to keep their exciting news to themselves for two weeks. This way, Jordan could share it with her Auckland-based mum Michelle in person.

She explains, “I was going to Mount Maunganui to host the Black Clash for TVNZ and we had planned a family holiday at a local bach. I really wanted to tell Mum myself as while I knew she would be so happy, there was also the sadness of Dad not being here.”

Jordan and Cameron enjoyed being in their own little bubble for those couple of weeks. The sports reporter wore her engagement ring at home and took it off to go to work so no one would find out.

As expected, Jordan’s mum was “over the moon” to learn the exciting news over lunch.

“We quickly changed our coffee order to our favourite frozen margaritas to celebrate!” smiles the TV star. “Our engagement has definitely brought a lot of joy to our wider families too.”

Jordan then popped a lovely photo on Instagram. She showed off her sparkling new ring, with Cameron and Warnie the dog by her side. The caption read, “Warnie’s mum and dad are engaged!”

Although officially together for over three years, the smitten couple have known each other since they were students at Auckland’s Pukekohe High School.

A ring and new pooch Warnie have helped with the grieving.

Jordan says, “Scruffy is a bit older than me, but our groups of friends were in the same circles and we have a shared love of sport, especially cricket.

“Every Christmas Eve in Pukekohe, it’s a bit of a tradition for the locals to get together at a bar. We used to meet each other then and say hi. Then my brother moved to Oamaru to play cricket and I received a random text from Scruffy, asking who he was playing for.

“A couple of months later, we reconnected at the Christmas Eve party in Pukekohe and that was it. The next day, he came for Christmas dinner with my family and never left.”

After having a long-distance relationship for six months, Scruffy bought a one-way ticket to Christchurch, where Jordan was now living. Last year, they moved into their brand-new home just north of the city.

Reporting on the sidelines with All Blacks captain Sam Cane.

They added Warnie, named after legendary Aussie spin bowler Shane Warne, to their family around the time of Kelvin’s passing.

“We were meant to pick him up the weekend before Dad died, but with us being up in Auckland, the timing didn’t feel quite right,” says Jordan.

“Dad was very sick, but said, ‘Have you got the dog?’ and after that, I knew we had to get him. Warnie is such a good boy and is so instinctual. He sits calmly by Dad’s special memorial plant in our back garden. He seems to know he came along at a time we really needed him.”

Jordan’s father is never far from her mind. She wears a beautiful custom necklace that incorporates a sprinkling of his ashes. It makes her feel like she is “wrapped in a cloak”, she says.

The couple have no wedding plans just yet. Jordan was a finalist for Sports Reporter of the Year at last month’s Voyager Media Awards. Now, she’s counting down the days to covering the Paris Olympics for TVNZ.

Jordan Oppert and Scruffy with their dog, Warnie sitting on sand dunes
Jordan and Cameron are planning a holiday in Greece before saying “I do”.

“We’re enjoying life as an engaged couple and are not in any rush,” she says. “After the Olympics, we’re having a couple of of weeks island-hopping around Greece, which we’re really excited about.”

Both are looking forward to marrying their “best mate” and building a family together.

Jordan continues, “Scruffy gets me, keeps me grounded and is also my brilliant part-time statistician. We’ve been through a lot together since Dad received his diagnosis soon after we met. From the beginning, we’ve had to be quite vulnerable and open with each other, which has made us stronger as a couple. I’m so excited to spend forever with him.”

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