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On the Block

Did you get the chicken? Did you go to the supermarket? The questions are back to normal in the Moore/Watts household after three months of being filmed for reality TV. Dare they say it, the lack of pressure has made “normal” feel a bit boring. But it’s great to be home, they say. Sophie Rishworth sat down with Team Yellow for a chat about what it was like behind the scenes on The Block NZ 2018 . . .

Amy and Stu sit with their builder, and the third person in Team Yellow, Dave Wallace on their back deck as they reminisce about their time on The Block NZ 2108.

Neighbours yell over the fence, “Well done”, as the blend of kids walk to the corner shop before making pizza for dinner.

Life is good but they all admit to “missing the pressure” after 12 weeks of being filmed as Team Yellow on the home renovation show “The Block NZ 2018”.

Amy and Stu recount a fond memory walking through Auckland after filming had wrapped.

“A guy came up to us and said he was our biggest fan.”

It turned out he had just been released from prison, and had watched The Block NZ from jail — where they all loved the show, he told them.

Stu gave him $20, and they carried on.

The couple have had to get used to people they do not know coming up to them.

Gizzy hardRight from the start, this year’s The Block winners had their hometown forefront in their mind.

Dave was contracted by Auckland Labour Hire, owned by another Gisborne man Israel Whitley. Collier’s Menswear sent Stu the Highway 35 shirts he wore, the Gizzy Hard shirts are from Blitz Surf Shop and owner Euan Nelson has even had orders for his brand from overseas since their exposure on The Block. Twisted Citrus sent through fresh fruit and care packages came from home too.

The corner house at Hobsonville Point in Auckland was Gisborne through and through, and they cannot thank everyone enough for their support.

‘I could go camping with the boys’Stu and Dave joined the Hobsonville RSA while they were based in Auckland and the locals up there fell in love with them, said Amy.

Dave was flown home every second weekend to be with his family — wife Anna and their 22-month-old daughter. Although, even when home, he was always organising on his phone the next week’s tradies, says Anna.

But she knew it had been a dream of her husband’s to be on The Block for years. It had also been a dream of Amy’s.

How it happened“One of my best friends Bridget basically rang me one morning and said, ‘You’re going on The Block, I am sick of you talking about it every year and not doing it. Jol (her husband) is coming over to take a video now’.”

That was how it happened, says Amy. The rest, as they say, is history.

Amy and Stu won $169,500 in total plus a new car.

And how did their relationship survive in such a stressful situation?

“You just brush the shit off mate, everyone’s entitled to their opinion, you don’t have to agree with it,” says Stu.

“We don’t drag things out,” adds Amy.

They do get paidParticipants on the The Block NZ do get paid enough to cover their costs of being on the show, including expenses back home.

Even though Stu jokes they “stole off the neighbours” to eat, a living allowance which is “more than adequate” is paid to contestants, plus they got Countdown vouchers and McDonald’s vouchers.

Although whether there was time for eating was another story.

“Stu and I did the Block diet, McDonald’s and stress, and Dave telling me there was no time to eat,” said Amy.

Staff at an Indian restaurant down the road also got to know them quite well.

They expect to keep in touch with the other teams — some more than others perhaps.

“I judge good friends by if you could go camping with them.

“I could go camping with the boys,” says Amy, referring to Tom and Ben from Team Blue.

Amy was in charge of admin for their team, and winning helped their budget. From their room reveals and other challenges on the show, they managed to increase their original budget of $120,000 by more than $40,000.

Block fan from way backDave was a Blockoholic from way back and had always wanted to go on the show.

He reckoned winning those first three weeks was the key to winning The Block —that and winning the Bosch tool wall, which statistically was a good indicator as most of the other teams who had won it went on to take the season.

Team Yellow were categorised as being “the oldest team on the block” but this was part of their winning formula too.

Stu, 46, and Amy, 39, had a strong work ethic, went full steam ahead from the start, and knew each other’s strengths.

Amy did paint a little bit, says Stu.

Stu says he didn’t mind doing most of the painting as he wanted to, and did a better job.

Dave recounts the story how Stu got really “shitty” one night and told Amy, “you can paint the powder room”.

“Amy got up the next morning and bought wallpaper for it,” says Dave with a laugh.

ShoppingThis was Amy’s domain and was not the “easy” option.

Amy’s eye for style, and knowing what she wanted in her head, meant she had to return very few things.

Another team, we won’t mention names, always had their car full of stuff needing to be returned.

“That’s a sign of someone who has got no idea.

“There’s a big difference from going shopping and looking for what you want, and going shopping and knowing what you want.”

Amy knew what she wanted but Auckland traffic meant a lot of time in the car.

It was a 40-minute commute to New Market for example, then around 90 shops to choose from.

There were also design restrictions each team had to follow — like you had to get three things from one particular store.

Plus, you could not “just go shopping”.

Permission had to be granted for any leave from the work site at any time.

Health and safety rules also meant that during the 12 weeks of filming, no one else was allowed on the site either.

That was a long time to not see the kids, and the one thing that was the hardest.

Social mediaThey are pretty philosophical about the negative comments, which inevitably come on social media when anyone becomes a person of public interest.

“Everyone who is in a position on reality TV like that show leaves themselves open to opinion on social media, and leaves themselves open to things like that,” says Amy.

Stu loved reading the bad comments though, and found them funny.

What about watching themselves on TV?

“Loved it mate,” says Stu. “It was interesting to see how they portrayed us.”

Sometimes how they were broadcast into homes around New Zealand was “unexpected”, added Amy.

“You never knew what they are going to show.”

What is next?Well, Amy is hanging up her wax strips for styling tips as she pursues a career in interior design.

There will be a holiday with the kids next year. Plus there are other ideas being discussed too — but they can’t say anything about that . . . yet.

THREE IN A TUB: Stu Watts, Amy Moore and builder Dave Wallace worked hard to make Team Yellow the overall winners for the reality TV show The Block NZ 2018. The three of them are all from Gisborne, and strong support from home helped them through. Pictures by Liam Clayton
HOME SWEET HOME: Amy Moore and Stu Watts love being home — especially at this time of year. The Gisborne couple won this year’s reality television series The Block NZ 2108, where four teams from around New Zealand do up and design four Auckland houses. They would do it again in a heartbeat, they say.