Photos: 20 Of Our Favourite Views

Whether it’s captivating cityscapes or breathtaking vistas, Open2view’s photographers get to work among the best views in New Zealand and Australia.

A great view can really make a property. It’s little wonder the owners of a Wellington apartment, whose sweeping harbour views were blocked by a four-metre-high wooden fence, took the matter to court. They won the battle and were awarded $72,500 this week.

With that in mind, we asked our talented team of photographers to show us some of the best views they’ve spotted from the decks, windows, gardens and skies of the properties they photograph.

Take a look at the stunning results in the gallery below.

Imagine having those views from your “office”? Well you could! Find out more about our franchise opportunities across New Zealand and Australia.

Where do you think the best views can be found in New Zealand and Australia? Let us know in the comments below or on our NZ and AU Facebook pages.


Charity Build: a house built to fight cancer


Build a three bedroom home in four weeks. Can it be done?

It sure can, with the proper motivation – and the people behind the Charity Build have that in spades.

The Professionals Hutt City, the Certified Builders Association of New Zealand, and Placemakers Hutt City have joined forces to build a house from scratch. Currently situated at 43 Seaview Road, Lower Hutt, this house will be auctioned on 30 November, with the proceeds going to the Child Cancer Foundation.

It’s no cheap knockoff either; according to the official press release, the house will be “fully carpeted, plumbed, with kitchen and bathroom; ready to ‘plug in’ wherever the lucky auction winner wants to place it to make it their home.”

Over 70 Certified Builders, from all over Wellington, are contributing 700 volunteer hours between them to get the house built to the highest standard.


Ah, press releases: doing all the work so I don’t have to. However I’m not paid just to repeat the work of others so I gave Scott Lancaster, the Child Cancer Foundation’s Fundraising Manager (Central Region), a call.

The Professionals, Steve says, have a long association with the Foundation. Every March the four offices in the Central Region do some kind of fundraiser for them. They decided to do something extra this year, and the Charity House Build was born.


There’s to be an art auction on the same day also. These pieces were created by children at one of the Foundation’s regularly-held art days. So if you’re not quite in the mood to buy a house, come along and pick up a painting for a bit less.

The proceeds from both auctions “will stay in the Central Region,” says Scott, who then reeled off a whole host of projects these funds will help with. Beads of Hope. Scholarships for those kids who have had to miss a lot of school and need to catch up. Camps for siblings. And financial support for families in hardship. All great causes – click here for more details on what they do.


Open2view’s Wellington team is proud to be doing its bit. Nathan Sanders has been on site most days taking photos, which you can find on the official website and Facebook. Nathan is passionate about the fight against cancer; recently he had his head shaved as part of the Child Cancer Foundation’s Funrazor event.

Want to see the house for yourself? There’s an open home being held this Sunday, 10 November.

For more details on how you can contribute to this most worthy fundraiser, check out the FAQ section on the Charity Build’s website, or click here to contact the organisers.

The story, and sale, of Wallaceville Church

Open2view 298904 church Upper Hutt

We shoot a heap of houses at Open2view. But a church? Well, that’s somewhat less common.

Wallaceville Church was built in 1893 by the Presbyterian Assembly, and now it could be yours. You’ll have to be quick though, if the experience of current owners, Alan and Heidi McGhie, is anything to go by.

“We purchased the church in November, 2002,” Heidi told us by email. ‘We drove past it one summer when we were dating, and it looked so lovely we stopped, waded through the long grass and peered through the windows. I even commented to my now husband, Alan, “Wouldn’t it be neat to own one day?”

“And what do you know, not long after that, it was mentioned in our local paper that they had three offers on it already and it was going to be decided the next evening who they would sell to. Within 24 hours we had an offer faxed through and we won the tender. Just like that.”

Open2view 298904 upper hutt Wallaceville Church

‘One Hundred Years of Worship,’ compiled by Len Gorrie and Phyllis Macnab, contains plenty of the church’s history up to 1993.

The history of the church is essentially the story of Wallaceville. It was intended that the building be the hub of the village, and for a while it appeared it would be.

The 108-seat church was built by a Mr Whitcher of Petone at a cost of 97 pounds. At the opening ceremony/picnic social in November 1893, the Petone Chronicle reported excitement unseen in the valley since Pakeha first settlement.

Sunday services were heavily attended in the church’s early days. In 1905 it hosted its first wedding. Records also show suggestions that the building host socials “in the week previous to the full moon.” Perhaps, surmised Gorrie, “the moon played a part in the success of the social.” Alternatively, perhaps full moons gave rise to behaviour unsuitable in a place of worship.

With some churches in the area struggling to balance the books, the Co-operating Parish (a union of the local Methodist and Presbyterian congregations, later renamed the Upper Hutt Uniting Parish) was formed in 1976.

By 1983, however, Phyllis Macnab reported an average of just eight people coming to services. Many families had, she wrote, “moved away, or married into a different denomination or prefer to attend worship at Upper Hutt… [the building] is no longer the centre of the district.”

Open2view 298904 Upper Hutt church

Fast-forward to 2002. New owners Alan and Heidi bought the building from the Parish and hosted many weddings in the 11 years since. It has also found use as a film set, the host of a poetry evening, county school fairs and was “part of many garden tours raising money for the Life Flight Trust.” Annual Christmas services, run by the Parish, are also “a big hit.”

Little about the building has changed; the powder room is a relatively new feature, but much is as it was when built. The wrought iron gates are the originals. The pedal organ is “nearly as old as the church” and still forms the soundtrack for many a wedding. The christening font remains there, along with, says Heidi, a “record of christenings which… dates back to the very early 1900s.”

Open2view 298904 church organ

Open2view’s local, Liz Evans, jumped at the chance to photograph the property.

“The church would be up there in uniqueness,” she said. “I haven’t photographed a church before!”

Photographing a church brought its share of unique challenges. “It was dark inside and full of wood,” explains Liz, “which absorbs the flash produced from the camera’s external flash instead of bouncing the light off walls. So I exposed for the windows and had a slow shutter speed.” Ultimately, as with any challenge, the secret to successful photos is to take a whole lot of them.

So what now for the McGhies? Heidi and Alan plan to carry on with their other business, Almack Electrical, and do some more crayfishing.

“We love adventures and life is short,” says Heidi, “so, for us, it is time to move on. We’ll certainly miss the place!”

Check out the photos of this amazing property and it’s easy to see why. There’s an on site auction on 19 October; check out the photos on our site, then head along for your chance to own this wonderful slice of Upper Hutt history.

Open2view 298904 Wallaceville Church front

Local Body Elections: Wellington mayoral candidates on housing

Wellington candidates who responded

It’s that time of the electoral cycle where you get a big fat envelope in the mail, with short blurbs about hundreds of people trying to win your vote for everything from the Mayoral office to the local licensing trust.

Who on earth should you vote for? We decided to help you make an informed decision – at least, in an area we are quite passionate about.

We asked Wellington’s mayoral candidates for their thoughts on a wide variety of local housing issues; our sincere thanks to those who replied. Should the others get in touch we’ll update this post accordingly.

It makes for a rather long blog, but in the interests of accuracy we’ve presented all answers in unabridged form. Enjoy, and hopefully this will help you in your decision-making. Make sure you vote!

Continue reading

Photos: New Zealand and Australia – the autumn collection

For this blog post, you may need a nice tall glass of quality wine.

Autumn provides the perfect backdrop for a wine or two. Photo by Guy Le Page in Barwon Heads, Victoria.

Aah, that’ll do nicely.

The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed that wine is of Australian vintage. Now, about that:

Open2view is a special company in that we’re New Zealand born and bred but have spread our wings to a whole lot of other nations too – Australia, Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.

This means, from time to time, there will be posts here with a multi-regional flavour. This shift from a varietal site to more of a blend will, we assure you, provide you with a fuller-bodied experience.

To prove we aren’t straying far from our roots, here’s a photo of Mt Egmont/Taranaki:

Open2view Taranaki autumn

The above are just two of many photos sent to me at Open2view Global HQ when I asked the team for some autumn pics to show off this most underrated of seasons.

Check out the best of the rest below (click on any photo to get the gallery rolling), and see why no one does autumn quite as well as Australasia – and no one captures it quite like Open2view.

Live like a leader: the story, and sale, of Hill Haven

We get to photograph many interesting houses here at Open2view. No one will object, I’m sure, if I say this place especially stood out.

House at 66 Harbour View road, Northland, Wellington, purchased by the Government for the use of the Prime Minister in 1939. Evening post (Newspaper. 1865-2002) :Photographic negatives and prints of the Evening Post newspaper. Ref: 1/2-C-028332-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

House at 66 Harbour View road, Northland, Wellington, purchased by the Government for the use of the Prime Minister in 1939. Evening post (Newspaper. 1865-2002): Photographic negatives and prints of the Evening Post newspaper. Ref: 1/2-C-028332-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Known as Hill Haven, 66 Harbour View Road, Wellington was home to two of our most well loved prime ministers – Michael Joseph Savage and Peter Fraser.

A very quick political lesson: Savage was the first leader of the First Labour Government, which won office in 1935, and he helped design what is known as the ‘welfare state’. Peter Fraser was his deputy and Minister of Education, and following Savage’s death he was PM for the next decade.

Michael Joseph Savage

Michael Joseph Savage

The history of Hill Haven itself is even more interesting. The eight room Victorian style villa, designed by prominent architect Frederick de Jersey Clere, was built from native timbers in 1909. English-born de Jersey Clere (1856-1952) was responsible for creating many of our important buildings. Wellington’s AMP building still stands today, as do 85 of the more than 100 churches he designed.

Prior to 1939 Hill Haven belonged to one F.W. Manton. Manton was the President of the Wellington Chamber of Commerce, but records show he was much more besides.

In 1908, Manton embarked on a journey of Hobbit-like proportions. For ten days he treked and sailed from Napier to Auckland, via Wairoa, Te Kepo and Katikati. Due to bad luck and forgetfulness, some of Manton’s 250 miles of walking was done in thunderstorms and without food. This intrepid adventure earned him, in the Poverty Bay Heraldthe mood-encompassing headline ‘A Long Tramp.’

It might be that he was better off staying in the Ureweras. In 1917, under the equally flowery heading ‘Accident to Mr. F. W. Manton’, the Evening Post reported:

“Mr Manton… was working on his property at Harbour View-road, Kelburn. He was on a slope, and had occasion to cut some gorse with an axe. While doing so something flew up, hit him on the head, and, it is presumed, rendered him unconscious. He fell to the ground, rolled down the slope, and then dropped over a cliff on to the road, the final fall being one of twenty to thirty feet.”

Needless to say, thanks to pioneers like Mr Manton, the land is gorse free and completely safe now. Manton was made of sterner stuff than most; he suffered merely a broken collarbone and injured hip, from which he recovered and lived a full life. Until he died.

At this point, the New Zealand Government saw a house fit for a king – or, failing that, a prime minister. The Crown purchased Hill Haven in 1939 and Mickey Savage promptly took up residence. His stay was short-lived; Savage was suffering from cancer at the time and he passed away, at home, on the morning of 27 March 1940.

1939 Evening Post article on Hill Haven

The Evening Post’s 1939 article on the Hill Haven purchase, courtesy of The National Library.

Peter Fraser was Hill Haven’s next occupant. New Zealand History suggests the new prime minister was “entranced by ‘one of the most beautiful views in the world’”. In between heading our war effort, and helping establish the United Nations, Fraser would rest his weary head back here.

Sidney Holland, who defeated Fraser in 1949, found the view less alluring and decided to live in Thorndon. This might, one speculates, have been due to the Thorndon air being “sodden with the smell of hops and malt from the brewery up the street”.

Hill Haven harbour view

The view from Hill Haven today. Peter Fraser would approve.

After 1949, like many a humbled politician, Hill Haven kept its head down and enjoyed the quiet life. Then, much like the New Zealand economy, it experienced some major renovations in the 1980s.

According to Saturday’s Dominion Post (article unavailable online) these changes included “drive-on access [and] a double garage with internal access to complement the double garage on the street.” Probably not a huge priority in 1909.

This work was designed by the awesomely-named Cranko Architects – check it out on their online portfolio.

Which brings us to 2012. Hill Haven has, for 103 years and counting, played host to all kinds of VIPs – be it former statesmen, or happy families. It has all the character of the early 1900s, is equipped for 21st Century living, and retains all its remarkable history from in between.

For the first time in over twenty years Hill Haven is for sale. Check out all the photos and floorplans on the Open2view website – maybe you’ll be tempted to write the next chapter of its colourful story.

Special thanks to The National Library, Open2view photographer Grant Down and floor plan designer Peter Burtonwood.

Hill Haven 2012 Open2view