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Pop CultureAugust 25, 2021

Once, twice, not sold: The Block NZ auctions postponed due to lockdown


It’s tools down on The Block NZ again, as Discovery NZ confirms episodes will be reduced and the upcoming house auctions delayed due to Covid-19 alert restrictions. 

There’s been plenty of drama on this season of The Block NZ, with much of it coming from outside the production itself. Earlier this year we watched the first 2020 Covid-19 lockdown bring the entire show to a halt, and now the current lockdown is forcing further changes. This morning a Discovery NZ spokesperson confirmed that the scheduled auctions of the four Point Chevalier houses will not proceed under alert level four, and will be rescheduled subject to alert level changes.  

Episodes currently screening on Three show the Block NZ teams completing the exterior areas of their houses in preparation for auction, with only a few episodes remaining in the season. With the auctions postponed, Discovery NZ announced The Block NZ will continue to screen on Three, but with a reduced schedule.

From August 29, The Block NZ will air two nights a week (Sunday at 7.00pm and Monday at 7.30pm) for two weeks. Taking The Block’s place on Tuesday August 31 will be a Newshub Investigates: Delta special, and on Wednesday Bondi Rescue. The 7.30pm slot the following week will be The Lego Movie on Tuesday September 7 and Bondi Rescue on Wednesday September 8. 

The teams return to The Block NZ houses after a year of Covid-19 disruptions (Photo: Discovery NZ)

This is the second time the popular home renovation series has been hit by Covid-19 restrictions. The first level four lockdown in March 2020 came two weeks into The Block NZ’s ninth season and stopped production of the show for over a year. Episodes filmed in the lead-up to the first lockdown capture the intense emotions and anxieties of the time, including one team leaving the show to be with a sick family member and the entire site shutting down in only a few hours. 

It bought an unexpected level of drama that no Mark Richardson wacky “chuck a marble down a drainpipe” challenge could match. The teams returned to the site in Auckland’s Point Chevalier in April 2021, and while it’s understood the houses have been completed for sale, the auction delay is another unlucky interruption for the series. For a show that prefers to keep events of the real world hidden away, The Block NZ has been dramatically disrupted by events out of its control that can’t be managed by clever camerawork or editing.  

Teams survey The Block NZ houses in the Auckland suburb of Point Chevalier (Photo: Discovery NZ)

The auction is the highlight of every Block NZ season, the brick-and-tile Everest that every team climbs to make their renovation slog worth it. It’s unclear how this delay will impact sale prices, if at all, but it’s another reminder that sometimes the biggest drama on reality TV isn’t manufactured. This season of The Block NZ may yet be remembered for its impressive houses and high sale prices, but it will also be known as the strange season where Covid-19 stuffed everyone’s plans up. Twice.

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