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Photos: Three / Design: Tina Tiller
Photos: Three / Design: Tina Tiller

Pop CultureSeptember 10, 2023

Everything you need to know about House Rules NZ

Photos: Three / Design: Tina Tiller
Photos: Three / Design: Tina Tiller

Three’s new renovation reality show starts tonight. Tara Ward explains exactly what we can expect.

What’s all this then?

House Rules NZ is a reality competition that sees five teams of two people renovate each other’s homes, and this is the first time a New Zealand version of the format has been made. Each House Rules team already owns their house, albeit with a significant mortgage, and their property is in need of a makeover. Each week, one brave couple hands over the keys to their fellow competitors, who then renovate according to a specific set of rules chosen by the homeowner – the House Rules, of course.

In the space of just a few days, the interior of each home is transformed. The results are judged by a team of design experts and the homeowners themselves, with scoring based on how well teams followed the brief. The next week, the renovations happen all over again at another team’s house, until all the homes have been renovated.

Then, the lowest scoring couples are eliminated and the remaining teams move on to transform house exteriors and gardens. In the final, the highest scoring pair wins the grand prize of $100,000 towards their home loan.

Wait, so teams can cause complete chaos inside someone else’s house?

They have rules to follow, of course, but House Rules also provides design experts to guide the teams during their reno journey. The best thing about House Rules is that everyone’s a winner. One team’s rundown home gets transformed, and then they help makeover other rundown home, so the feel-good factor is huge. Because a house gets made over every week, the show has a great pace, and it’s not driven by profit like The Block NZ. Teams don’t have to win the big prize to reap the rewards of their hard work.

Who are these ‘teams’ you speak of? 

I’ll introduce you to them now.

Jemma and Alvaro 

Alvaro and Jemma

The House Rules NZ press kit describes this Glen Eden couple as “newlyweds with big dreams”. Do those dreams include a “Live Laugh Love” sign on the wall of their newly renovated toilet? Based on those huge grins, we really hope so.

Martinique and Andre

Martinique and Andre

Hailing from Ōtātahu, Martinique works as a high school teacher and her husband Andre is a builder. As a tradie, Andre should know his hammer from his hardwood, and can probably pull down a non-loadbearing wall in no time. Could Andre be the new Handy Andy of New Zealand’s home renovation scene – Handre Andre, if you will?

Theresa and Jarrad

Jarrad and Theresa (Photo: Three)

Cousins, best friends, soon to be reality TV stars. Theresa and Jarrad will renovate Jarrad’s house in New Lynn, and if it all goes wrong, they can look forward to some really awkward family get-togethers in the future. Still, when has renovating five homes in five weeks caused any stress? Seems fine.

Nikita and Sherwen

Sherwen and Nikita

The press kit describes this lovely couple as “fun and feisty”, which means we’re in for a treat. Howick pair Nikita and Sherwen have been married for 10 years, which is the same amount of time that House Rules has been on television. Is this a sign? Is this fate? Is fate fun and feisty too? The judges say: yes.

Char and Violet

Violet and Char

This mother and daughter team hail from Murray’s Bay, a North Shore suburb presumably named after both the new judge of House Rules NZ and acclaimed American actor Chad Michael Murray. Char and Violet look thrilled to be here and obviously have a tight bond, but will they char-grill the competition or (vio)let the stress get the better of them?

And who are the host and judges?

Host: Duncan Heyde

House Rules NZ host Duncan Heyde

You might recognise Duncan Heyde’s voice from The Rock FM drive show, but now Heyde is venturing into the technicolour world of television presenting. Heyde says he’s “pumped” for New Zealanders to see the first season of House Rules NZ, and just look at how pumped he is in this official photo! Absolutely loving it.

Designer: Jade Hurst

House Rules NZ designer Jade Hurst

Jade Hurst is the founder of Good Space, a “wellness interiors studio” focusing on human and environmental health in design. Hurst’s role on this show is to make sure the teams understand the house rules and to steer them away from decorating disasters. Let’s hope she can make Hurst-ory by making good spaces great again.

Judge: Katrina Hobbs

Judge Katrina Hobbs

These days Katrina Hobbs is an interior designer and magazine editor, but viewers may also remember her from her time on Shortland Street and Home and Away over 20 years ago. Hobbs also featured in an early season of Celebrity Treasure Island, a show that sadly featured zero silk velvet cushions.

Judge: Michael Murray

Judge Michael Murray

This Auckland interior designer won many awards for his impressive kitchen designs, but we must clarify that he is not acclaimed American actor Chad Michael Murray nor NZ Idol runner-up Michael Murphy, despite what my Google search wants me to think. Will he be the next Jason Bonham, though? Only the feature walls know the truth.

House Rules NZ screens on Three on Sundays at 7.00pm, and Mondays and Tuesdays at 7.30pm. The show also streams first on ThreeNow with episodes uploaded at 12pm each day. 

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