BBC director Jon Bowden, Rob and Holly Walker, with sound recordist Grant Finlay preparing to film at a Hira home. Photo: Sara Hollyman

BBC puts Nelson in the spotlight for global relocation show

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A BBC television crew is in Nelson this week to film a popular series giving British families a taste of life “down under”.

Each episode of “Wanted Down Under” gives one UK family the chance to experience life on the other side of the world for a week, before deciding as a family whether they want to emigrate. It is viewed by millions of people worldwide.

Rob and Holly Walker, with their two young boys, chose Nelson as the place that they want to potentially move across the world for.

The Nelson Weekly was tipped off to the scoop after this reporter’s real estate agent asked if a film crew could visit their house in Hira.

Show fixer Linda McLaughlan says the Walker family are spending the week experiencing Nelson “as if they lived here”.

“They will be spending a day looking at potential job options, Rob’s a builder and Holly’s a beauty therapist. They will check out a school for their kids and they will spend a day doing regular ‘Sunday’ activities like going to the beach and heading out on a bush walk.”

Part of the experience is looking at the cost of living in Nelson, compared with where they live now, and they will also look at three potential property options – in Toi Toi, Enner Glynn and Hira.

At the end of the week, the Walkers will be shown messages from families and friends in the UK and will then have to make the decision whether Nelson will be their future home.

The full series consists of 26 episodes and only five of these will be filmed in New Zealand, the rest in Australia.

“The families will typically choose to go to Auckland or Wellington because it’s the places they’ve heard of. I would hope that more and more they will start looking to the regions as viable options.

Nelson Regional Development Agency chief executive Mark says the show is only positive for the region. “With a growing economy and a tight labour market, talent attraction is one of the biggest challenges for the Nelson Tasman region. We have an extraordinary lifestyle proposition and having Wanted Down Under cover the region provides a fantastic level of exposure to tell this story.”

Read on for Sara Hollyman’s column on how the BBC came to find her Hira home.

When the email came through from our real-estate agent asking whether a film crew could check out our property I must confess I had to Google the show.

It’s a bizarre feeling knowing the BBC will be filming a family of four from the UK oohing and ahhing over our Hira home.

In a year’s-time, that will then be aired to millions of Brits.

Do I take the photo of my newborn baby off the wall? Or the large canvas of me kissing my husband on our wedding day? Will those even be seen? What if the family doesn’t like our home and instead of oohhs and ahhs they give ewws and yucks? Will our home be the icing on the cake that makes them want to emigrate to Nelson?

Today they have been filming the garden, oh the garden! The tomatoes are wilted and dying, the grapes have overtaken everything, and last nights’ wind covered our driveway in leaves!

But this is our home, take it or leave it. So tonight, as I head to bed, the photos are staying, and the garden is just as it was yesterday – like it or not Britain.