New Zealand suffered a series of major earthquakes last year, several being within the city of Christchurch. Now, matchmakers in the area say the disasters have changed the way locals view dating.

Rosie Bowie, who runs the New Zealand-based dating service Matchcompany, says residents are now more open-minded about their potential partners.

Couple holding hands(Photo: Catherine MacBride from Flickr for Getty Images)

"Before the quakes, people were fussy about what they wanted. They would say they wanted someone who went to Christ's College, and there was a sense nobody was quite good enough for them. Now they are much more realistic about the fact they won't ever meet the person they expect to meet. They meet people who are available."

From the sound of it, the earthquakes gave people a sense of their own mortality, and in turn, a dose of reality. There's nothing wrong with having expectations, but when those expectations are described as "fussy", I suppose that's another story.

This certainly isn't the first time a natural disaster made people look for love. After Hurricane Irene hit the East Coast last year, dating website OkCupid had a huge spike in users, with 50,000+ New Yorkers alone logging in, sending 88,402 messages.

And indeed, not only did the New Zealand earthquakes change the way locals perceived dating; it also made them want to date more. Rick Davies, who manages the New Zealand dating site FindSomeone, says there has been a huge and steady increase in users from areas affected by the quakes.

Davies summed up the behavior: "People are now living for the moment, rather than the future."

No point in waiting for a natural disaster. Now is as good a time as any to cross "find mate" off your to-do list.