Living the Kiwi dream

From the white sandy beaches of Maraetai and the village charm of Clevedon, to the welcoming community of Paerata Rise, the region is all about combining a relaxed rural lifestyle with the benefits of nearby city living. Or as Landmark Homes Auckland South & Franklin franchise owners Colleen and Michael Walters would say, “living the Kiwi dream”.

We spoke with the pair to find out more about what the region has to offer and what’s been happening with their business.

Why are people choosing to build in the Auckland – South East region?

For many it’s about realising the dream of owning their ultimate home within a beautiful region of New Zealand that is close to the city, but without the price tag of building in the inner suburbs.

Finding a piece of land to build on within Auckland’s suburbs is getting harder and harder. But in the south-east and Franklin region, people can find a nice piece of land that offers just that little bit extra. There’s more of a ‘Kiwi living’ vibe. Take Clevedon for example, it’s still very much a small rural town vibe with a country feel to it, yet it’s less than a 30-minute drive over the hill to Howick or East Tamaki, or to the airport. It’s central and convenient but with a quiet, country feel.

Another big drawcard to the region is the new build lifestyle community of Paerata Rise between Karaka and Pukekohe. It’s shaping up to be a fantastic development with great schooling, shopping, lots of green space, and a well-designed community for young and old.

Finding land to build on isn’t always easy, how do you make that easier?

That’s true, it can be a frustrating and time-consuming process to find that perfect piece of land. But that’s where we can save a whole lot of hassle. Our team has their finger firmly on the pulse of the land market in this region.

We have a good relationship with realtors and developers in the area who keep us informed about upcoming sites, so we’ve got a good feel for what’s going to become available over the next 2-3 years in the area.

Tell us about your two Showhomes

The first is in Clevedon which will be opening early in 2022. It’s the first ever Showhome in that area for Landmark Homes or any other house build company. It’s a design and build and the home reflects the Kiwi love of outdoor living. It has a welcoming, country feel with high sloping ceilings, open plan entertaining areas, large, exposed trusses, and a big covered outdoor area with automated louvres for all weather outdoor living.

In Paerata Rise, we have our existing award-winning Showhome, which is based on the popular Awakeri Ready to Build design and, like the home in Clevedon, is all about relaxed outdoor living with features such as a generous deck space, an outdoor lounge, fireplace, and automated louvre roof.

Our new Showhome in Paerata Rise is based on our Rangitoto duplex Ready to Build design. The home has a compact footprint of 230m² over two levels and is designed for a relaxed and comfortable lifestyle with a low maintenance section. You’ve got the best of both worlds – a smaller section that needs minimal maintenance, but a home that is still luxurious and spacious. With features like an indoor lift and an easy-living layout, this home combines nicely with the community lifestyle of Paerata Rise to offer an excellent alternative for active retirees. It provides a great option for a high-end forever home in a supportive environment with big financial benefits they wouldn’t get in a traditional retirement home setting.

Tell us more about the Rangitoto Ready to Build duplex design

I’ve been quite heavily involved with retirement homes through previous roles, so I understand the financial model.

It requires fees and service costs that ultimately leave the family out of pocket. I also know that older people want, and need, to stay engaged with their community – they don’t want to be stuck in a subdivision where they don’t really see anyone or feel appreciated.

The Paerata Rise developers were looking for a high-end build option within their hub, they recognised that Landmark Homes offered that high-end product, so we worked together on a new concept.

We wanted to create an option for older people that offered an alternative to the traditional retirement home model. A spacious, easy-care home that had good accessibility for wheelchairs or mobility aids if needed and had room for the grandchildren to visit.

Ultimately, what we aim for is something that other building companies are not doing. We try to find a niche where others don’t see an opportunity and develop something unique to us.

What’s been happening in the business, and how have you managed over the lockdown?

We’ve been busy! The lockdown was an opportunity for us to invest time in the business. Without as many of the usual distractions we were able to spend time updating and improving systems so we can provide a better, more efficient service for our clients. Like everyone else, we’ve all been working from home. So that means checking in with clients, securing and monitoring project sites, and just staying proactive and positive to get as much done so we can hit the ground running again as soon as possible.

Despite the lockdowns, our team has also expanded over the past year with the addition of two project managers. We’ve grown at a good speed and have a great team of builders with a high level of expertise. And with a significant amount of build work coming up, the future for Landmark Homes Auckland South & Franklin is very exciting.

And to top it off, we were very proud to have received a gold award in the Registered Master Builder House of the Year Awards 2021. To get gold is a great achievement and just reflects the standard that we work hard to attain.


We are very excited to have recently bought an amazing home that is now the Landmark Homes Auckland – South-East office. It’s a 1905 villa in Pukekohe located on one of the town’s busiest corners and is the oldest residential building in the town. It has beautiful characterful touches such as ceiling roses and stained-glass windows. We’ve given it a bit of facelift and enhanced its original character with new paintwork and gorgeous chandeliers that have made it a real landmark for the area.

If you’re interested in building in the Auckland South & Franklin areas, make sure to contact the team today!

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