Recap: The Block NZ premiere

The Block NZ contestants arrive on site.
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The Block NZ contestants arrive on site.

The Block NZ is back, and this season sees the four plucky teams battling it out to restore four old villas to their former glory. Here's what went down in episode one...

THE COUPLES

We meet personal banker Brooke and plumber Mitch, both 25, from Christchurch. Like eager young puppies, this couple is just happy to be here.

Next up is sales representative Jamie, 23, and law student Hayden, 29, from the North Shore. The newly-engaged pair are the most athletic team on The Block, and they plan on winning.

Pre-school teacher Cat, 27, and art director Jeremy, 29 from New Plymouth are introduced next. This cute couple is inseparable - as Cat says: "We're just pretty much the same person. Except boy and girl."

Finally we meet industrial design graduate student Sarah, 24, and student Minanne, 19, from Hamilton. The sisters are the first all-female team on The Block, and Minanne is the youngest-ever contestant. At 90 kilos combined, they are also the smallest.

THE SUBURB

The Block NZ: Villa Wars takes place in Auckland's "sought after" central west, in the "sought after" suburb of Sandringham. How many more times are we going to hear "sought after" this season?

THE VILLAS

There are four dilapidated villas, each with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a covered outdoor area. Each comes with its own set of unique problems, including fire damage, water damage and some serious construction flaws.

WHAT HAPPENED

The teams rock up to The Block to find that, unlike in other years, there will be no race to determine who gets what house. Instead, the couples will have 15 minutes to inspect the houses and decide which is their favourite. Host Mark Richardson also reveals the first room renovation will begin within the hour.

Mitch and Brooke - not impressed with the villas.
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Mitch and Brooke - not impressed with the villas.

Every team decides they like the cut of House One's jib. But when Mark asks which one they prefer, some of the teams decide to be tactical. Brooke and Mitch and Jamie and Hayden say they like House Two the best, while Cat and Jeremy claim House Four is their fave.

Only Sarah and Minanne are honest, saying straight up that they prefer House One. Cat and Jeremy eventually admit they too like House One best.

Then comes the big twist... it turns out the teams have chosen their houses (for now, at least) and will be sharing renovation duties, bunking down together for the first time on The Block

Jamie and Hayden react to the news they'll be sharing their house with another team.
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Jamie and Hayden react to the news they'll be sharing their house with another team.

BIGGEST FAIL

Sarah and Minanne are dealt a rough set of cards on their first day on The Block. First of all, they lose the coin toss to Cat and Jeremy, which means they are stuck renovating the smallest room. Then they spend half the day trying to find a builder, putting them way behind the other teams.

BIGGEST SUCCESS

It's a flawless comeback for Sarah and Minanne when they finally manage to get hold of builder Greg and his team of five construction workers. Sarah and Minanne demand the impossible of the good-natured Greg, but he pulls out all the stops to make sure their room will be ready for the looming pre-line inspection. Bless that builder.

BIGGEST OSH HAZARD

Cat and her sledgehammer, which she adorably dubs "sledgie".

Cat and Jeremy - the cutest couple?
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Cat and Jeremy - the cutest couple?

DIY INSPIRATION

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We're loving the funky map of New Zealand that plumber Mitch made Brooke out of an old copper toilet system for her 20th birthday. As Mitch said, why pay $140 in a shop when you can make one from an old bog for $20? Good on ya, mate.

WELCOME BACK

Former Black Cap Mark Richardson is back hosting, and Peter "The Wolf" Wolfkamp returns as the site foreman. But most exciting is the return of Martin, everyone's favourite hot Scottish builder, who is working for Jamie and Hayden this season. No one can understand what he is saying, but no matter - that luscious man bun speaks for itself. 

BEST QUOTE

Quote of the episode goes to Jeremy, for his eloquent assessment of the house selection process: "We didn't know what was going on. It was just a mind fart."

Runner up goes to his other half, Cat, who exclaimed upon seeing the bathroom of House One: "Oh toilet! Ew yuck. There's yellow wees in there."

"Ew yuck. There's yellow wees in there."
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"Ew yuck. There's yellow wees in there."

WORST PRODUCT PLACEMENT

Come on, this wouldn't be The Block (or any reality TV show, for that matter) without some shameless advertising. But barely a minute into episode one and we're already hearing Mark wax lyrical about the "state-of-the-art" COLORSTEEL® Endura® roofs by NZ Steel. No rain delays! 

COUPLE TO WATCH

The most ruthless team so far is undoubtedly Jamie and Hayden. We learn early on that Jamie is sporty and competitive. But her merciless nature is demonstrated when Mitch selflessly lends her some building paper for her windows and doors. Little did Mitch know, Jamie planned on stealing the whole roll of paper for herself... with no intention of giving it back. Meanwhile Hayden seems to be out to prove that he is the Rambo of this competition. "It's called Villa Wars and I'm prepared to put up the biggest fight to win that house," he grunts. "I'm lucky I'm the biggest."

Could we already have our Block villains?

Let us know what you thought about the first episode of The Block NZ in the comments.

 - Stuff

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