Life on the Block for Nelson couple

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1996

After a week on the Block NZ television show, Nelson’s Tom and Loz Heaphy were wondering what on earth they’d gotten into.

They were the underdogs with no renovation skills, they couldn’t even build a decent letterbox and realisation that they could be in for ten weeks of losing was hitting them hard.

“We said to the producers, did you just put us on this show to be the losers?’” says Loz. “We thought what are we doing here?”

But it didn’t take them long to turn it around, heading into this week they were on a streak of three wins, including for their children’s bedroom, the dinner wars challenge and their bathroom. Suddenly it all seemed to come together says Tom.

“We don’t like losing and I pictured ten weeks of us losing the whole time and being a joke and being an embarrassment and that was really tough to get our heads around. Winning the bathroom was huge, because the judges just raved about it and it was then that we thought, we may actually be able to do this.”

The Block NZ is a reality show that sees four couples renovating a house room by room over a ten week period. At the end of the ten weeks the houses will be auctioned off with the difference between the reserve and the final sale price theirs to keep. The winner will also win an extra $80,000 cash.

Tom and Loz, both well known in Nelson, say they entered the show for the challenge of it.

“It’s cliché but life is short and the last three years in Nelson have just flown by. So doing something out there and something to look back on hopefully with pride, not regret, was a big motivator,” says Tom.

Along with learning new renovating skills, Tom and Loz have also had to come to grips with being celebrities in their own right, something they say is a bit strange. “Mostly people just say hi,” says Loz. “But things like Twitter it’s weird, the people who tweet about you, like John Campbell tweeted about how he loved our bathroom. We’re kind of blown away that those kind of people know about us.”

Other big fans of Tom and Loz on Twitter is Nelson comedian Guy Williams and fellow funny man Steve Wriggly, who has declared himself “team Tom and Loz”.

The couple are currently second place in the people’s choice award and Tom says they are getting a lot of support from Nelsonians. “Lots of people that we know or know by association are really behind us, the ones that know us really get into it, cursing at the tele, hugs in the lounge when we win something. It’s really cool.”

Winning the Block NZ could be a life changer for Tom and Loz but they say if they do win, it will be finishing the challenge that will be the ultimate experience. “We never said we were in it for the money but that it was a nice benefit of it. But going through it, the way we’ve grown, the skills we’ve learnt, that’s more valuable,” says Tom.

“We’ve learnt so much and it’s something we’ll always remember and hopefully something we’ll always look back on with pride and happiness… but winning money will add to that,” he jokes.

To vote for Tom and Loz in the people’s choice award, visit www.tv3.co.nz and then search the Block NZ under shows.