After what feels like a lifetime, The Block NZ finally wrapped up its 2021 run last night with a record-smashing auction. Stewart Sowman-Lund and Tara Ward recap all the action.
Tara Ward: Stewart, I cannot tell you how excited I am that we have finally reached the grand finale of The Block NZ 2020. How are your nerves?
Stewart Sowman-Lund: *TOOLS DOWN*. Sorry, I’m just that excited. I feel as nervous as the contestants.
TW: It’s been 18 months since this renovation journey began, and we’ve had a global pandemic, two lockdowns, a concussion, several broken ribs, cheating, contestants leaving, an out of control housing market and more feature walls than you can shake a paint stirrer at. So much happened, yet tonight was the most exciting episode of all.
SSL: Not to mention fennel-gate! Mark kicked off the episode by saying this was the “the most highly anticipated auction in Block NZ history.” But honestly, I was mainly anticipating the recap because I remember none of this. Janah? Who?! Absolutely no clue.
TW: Also gone are those memories of the pre-pandemic Block NZ auctions, when everyone breathed over each other in the same room, live on the telly. This year, the auctions began with presenters Mark Richardson and Shelley Ferguson enjoying a socially-distanced catch up with the Auckland contestants in their Block homes, while the other contestants Zoomed in from around the country. There was plenty of small talk, but nobody wanted to answer the big question: what the hell happened to the olive tree in Connie and Rach’s house?
SSL: The olive tree looks like how I feel after waiting 12 years for this season to wrap up. At least blush pink furniture is still in fashion! Speaking of post-lockdown appearances: can we talk about Peter (wolfie) Wolfkamp’s beard!?
TW: A true lockdown achievement. Some of us baked sourdough, some of us grew a beard. If I could have voted for that stubbly wonder in the People’s Choice Award, I would have. Sadly, the coveted golden hammer and free Suzuki go to Dylan and Keegan, who also have very nice facial hair.
SSL: If breaking a rib on national TV is what it takes to win a car… Well, I probably still wouldn’t. But well deserved! Too bad Keegan can’t quite appreciate it yet as he’s being carried around on a tiny iPad.
TW: The pleasantries are over, and Mark has taken off his jacket and tie to discuss house reserves. We don’t usually know the reserves, perhaps because the veins in my forehead exploded when Mark announced all the reserves were over TWO MILLION DOLLARS.
SSL: I’m glad the Bank of Mark got a mention. I hear it offers a great interest rate for first home buyers. But, yes: TWO MILLION DOLLARS.
TW: I would need the Bank of Mark, Matthew, Luke and John for that. But there’s nothing more I love than watching rich people fight over fancy stuff, so bring on the auctions. First up, Tim, Arty and their toy duck.
SSL: I’ll be honest, my money (on a high interest loan from the Bank of Mark) was on these two coming out on top. I love their house!
TW: What were your thoughts on the virtual auction situation? I love a big poster on an easel situation. Never goes out of style.
SSL: I’m disappointed none of the potential bidders had forgotten to switch off their embarrassing Zoom background from Friday drinks. If I had $2 million to throw around I’d definitely have a nice filter on. At the very least, a nice “The Block NZ” neon light. Or a graffiti splashback?
TW: You know what looks good? Tim and Arty’s house selling for a whopping $2.825 million, giving them a profit of $660,000. WHAT?! Hell of a start. That duck is luckier than we realised.
SSL: I got chills, and they were multiplying. That was insane!! They’ve already made the most profit of any Block NZ contestants ever – and there are three more auctions to go. Maybe this whole housing biz really is worth getting into after all. Who knew?!
TW: Look, the speed of that auction suggests buying a house is fun and easy and basically if you have Zoom, you can do anything. Onward to Dylan and Keegan. I hope Keegan’s ribs can handle the stress, especially when he’s trapped in that tiny screen.
SSL: I’m incredibly impressed they managed to make the iPad float, like some sort of Block-devil on Dylan’s shoulder. But how will they fare in the auction? The easel is back, here we go.
TW: Cover me in a tarp and bury me among Dylan and Keegan’s subtropical planting, because the brothers just made a casual $590,000 profit. To quote Block NZ 2019 winner Lisa, this finale is out the gate. Or in the words of Mark: “Shelley, this is pretty cool!”
SSL: Keegan looks thrilled, sitting inside his tiny floating void. And who wouldn’t be! He’s going to pay off his mortgage and I am so chuffed for him. There are two more auctions to go, which means we’ll soon find out how much a dead olive tree in Point Chev is worth. But first: Meg and Dan.
TW: Is this what you do in an auction, just shout out random numbers until someone hits a hammer? It’s a very 2021 vibe, but it works for Meg and Dan, who make an incredible $478,000 in approximately 30 seconds. “A fantastic result,” Dan reckons, in the understatement of the season.
SSL: Whip up a feature wall and pour me a whiskey! Meg and Dan are sitting in third place despite pulling in almost half a mill. This really puts the glory of winning the Dancing with the Stars mirrorball trophy into perspective.
TW: Mark reckons this is a party, but I can’t see any bowls of cheerios and tomato sauce so I think he’s drunk on capitalism. Will Connie and Rach’s auction tip him over the edge? Not sure his grin can get any wider.
SSL: I’m just glad the depressing Trustpower advert brought me back to reality before the final auction or I honestly don’t think I could handle it! This is truly thrilling stuff. “It all comes down to this,” said Mark, perched on the edge of a tiny orange seat.
TW: It’s not a Block NZ auction if someone doesn’t mention Tina Turner, as Connie and Rachel’s house skyrockets to $2,692,000 and earns them a jazzy $422,000 profit. You can buy a lot of olive trees with that.
SSL: Tina Turner may have once said it’s “simply the best” but she also once said: “When I was young, I used to think, ‘why do I look like a little pony?’” The point being, not everything she said can be trusted!
TW: Stewart, I think you might be drunk on capitalism too. But Tim and Arty are simply the best, winning The Block NZ 2020 and an extra $100,000 for making the most profit. Not a bad day’s work, right? Even little ponies would be thrilled with that.
SSL: Incredible! That’s the most excitement I’ve had all year. And you know what – I cannot wait to do this all again in a year’s time. I hope you’ll join me again, Tara?
TW: You bring the cheerios, I’ll bring the sauce.