Southland pair popular on The Block

TV HOPEFUL: Ben Crawford, originally from Edendale.
TV HOPEFUL: Ben Crawford, originally from Edendale.

The Block NZ journey started for a Southland brother and sister over a few beers at a game of rugby.

Auckland-based Ben Crawford, who grew up on the family farm at Edendale with sister Libby, was at the rugby with some friends, who mentioned the show was coming to New Zealand.

He knew Libby had watched the Australian version, and he had always had an interest in real estate and renovation having done up properties in Invercargill.

TV HOPEFUL: Libby Crawford, originally from Edendale
TV HOPEFUL: Libby Crawford, originally from Edendale

He texted Libby and heard back within minutes that she was keen to try out.

"Admittedly, I had a few beers under my belt . . . I didn't think anything of it until I flicked through my messages the next day and there was this committal to do it. And next thing we are on it."

For Christchurch-based Libby, it had still not really clicked what they were doing.

"I am waiting for it to sink in that I am on The Block and it's almost over."

The final renovation episode aired on Thursday, with the live auction and final of the series next Thursday.

During the series, the Southland siblings have been popular with viewers, with more than 6000 fans on Facebook who regularly post messages for the pair.

At the first of two public open homes last weekend, several thousand people queued in Anzac St, Takapuna, to meet the four couples, and a meet-and-greet with Ben and Libby at Christchurch Bunnings attracted several hundred fans.

It had been "pretty crazy", Ben said.

"Last week an insane amount of people turned up for the open home. It's a bit like being a rock star for the day."

It was overwhelming how "into it" people were, he said.

Even young children were fans, with classes sending letters of support to their favourite teams.

"I was definitely not into DIY when I was 9 or 10."

When asked whether they had an advantage on the show being siblings, Ben thought having identical backgrounds and a similar style had helped.

There was never a huge debate about things, and they did not have to worry about their relationship like other couples who may have backed down on some things if they thought they might end up in the dog box, he said.

"We're stuck with each other," Libby said.

The pair, whose parents still lived in Edendale and "seemed pretty proud", planned to set up a business together.

The Southland Times