The Block NZ Lowdown

Why The Block NZ?

It's a really fun show and has been hugely popular in Australia since it launched almost a decade ago, we thought it was time we got in on the action. We're such a nation of DIYers it was an obvious choice for us. We reckon we can do it even better!

Tell us how the format works?

Four couples move into four run down houses and over the course of ten weeks, they renovate room by room on a tight budget to really tight deadlines. The couples have to live in the houses from day one and live and breath the renovations. Each week they have to complete a room which is judged and they win money or prizes to help them in their renovations. The judges are an interior designer and a home magazine editor and they are looking for fresh ideas and innovation, and adding value. The couples also face weekly challenges with more prizes on offer. The overall winner of the show is the couple who achieves the greatest profit above reserve on auction night. That winner receives that profit and an $80,000 cash prize. The couples have given up their lives for ten weeks to be part of this, some have given up their jobs so there is an enormous amount at stake and they are very competitive, which all adds to the excitement of the programme.

Can professional builders enter the show?

Tradesmen can apply to be on the show and certainly in Australia they have had plumbers and electricians taking part, however there are some restrictions on builders involved with residential building and project management. In our show we have a landscape gardener.

Are there eliminations?

No, no eliminations. You will be able to follow the highs and lows of the couples that we meet on day one right through to auction day.

How is the winner chosen? Do viewers get a say?

It all comes down to auction night and whose house sells for the highest profit. If viewers are in the market to buy a house, they can attend the auction and their top bid could decide the winner.

Can couples bid on their houses at the Live Auction?

Yes, they can although most our couples are from out of town, so it might not suit their personal circumstances. Although I imagine they would love to be able to buy them. It will be very hard for the couples to sell them as they put their all into these houses and it will be hard to tear them apart at the end.

How is it different to other DIY shows?

The scale of The Block is enormous. We've seen nothing like it in New Zealand. Four couples in four houses, working sometimes 24 hours a day to complete their rooms for ten weeks. Phew! And as well as a renovation show, it's also about relationships and how the couples cope. They have to live in the houses while they are doing them up and we are talking about houses that are in a pretty rough state – these are houses without roofs, with mould, there are holes in the walls, it's pretty tough. There's been a lot of rain and its getting pretty cold at night. So they live in the house and are renovating, they face tight deadlines in doing up their rooms and they also take part in two challenges a week. The rewards of winning the challenges include extra cash to spend on the houses or prizes such as winning extra tradesmen or painters, so prizes that are of a huge value in terms of doing up their houses. Obviously the better you do up your house, the more attractive it will be to bidders on auction day.

We're a nation of DIYers, how do you think NZers are going to respond?

I think people will find it really interesting to see how the couples do up their houses, they'll get lots of ideas and inspiration. If they love the rooms or hate them, agree with the judges or disagree, there will be plenty to talk about. I think they'll also be able to relate to the stresses and strains of living through renovation.

We know you can't say too much, but filming has started – how's it going?

Brilliantly. Our couples are fantastic, they're really giving it their all and although it's been pretty tough like having to wade through the mud and rain to get to the portaloo at night, they're having a lot of fun. The rooms are looking amazing. It's going to be a great show. I can't wait to see it go to air.

Will there be another series?

We certainly hope so.

About The Block

The Block NZ is the first local version of an international hit renovation-reality series in which four couples compete to renovate four dilapidated houses in a very upmarket suburb – room by room, week by week, challenge by challenge – and sell them at auction for the highest price.

The teams can be couples, family members, or friends, and do not need any DIY experience. Once selected, the contestants live and breathe their DIY project for the nine week shoot, living on site in The Block NZ houses. There are no further eliminations, and the winning couple is decided by the toughest judge of all, the real estate market!

All four renovated houses go to a live TV auction, with The Block NZ crown going to the couple whose house fetches the highest price on the night!. All the couples receive profits from the sale of their house at the televised auction, and the winners will take home an additional cash prize of $80,000.

The Block is one of the biggest reality formats in the world, with a compelling blend of real estate dreams and high-stakes drama that has made it a global phenomenon. In Australia, where the show began, it remains the highest rated television series of all time, and over 350 episodes have been produced worldwide, from the UK and USA to Israel, Russia, Romania and Belgium, to the Netherlands and Scandinavia.

The New Zealand series is produced by Eyeworks Television for TV3. Foundation partners are Bunnings Warehouse, Kiwibank, Mazda and Wild Bean Cafe.