After searching for two years, the Joustra-Stiles family finally found a piece of land that satisfied their individual needs.
For Jenny and her two daughters it was all about a property where they could indulge their passion for horses, while Jenny's husband Tim wanted to build a large home in landscaped grounds that could eventually be used as a boutique homestay.
"Tim was a big man with a big vision for the land at Muriwai; 10 acres with a view of the horse paddock was never going to work for him, so instead we bought his dream block of land complete with thistle, gorse, broken-down fencing and an old milking shed," says Jenny.
It was 16 years ago that the couple bought the land and Tim set about building the first stage of the home.
"Tim was a civil engineer but he chucked it all in to go building; he just loved building," says Jenny.
Over the years the property took shape, with the family living in a garage before moving into the self-contained southern wing of the house while building work progressed elsewhere. Although it is now only a small part of the overall house, this wing is comfortable in its own right and is rented out.
On the first floor it has two bedrooms - one with an en suite - a macrocarpa-lined main bathroom and an open-plan kitchen/living area that flows out to a large deck overlooking the arena and stables.
In the living area, Tim's craftsmanship is on display with timber-sarked, cathedral ceilings. "Being Dutch, a lot of Tim's concepts were quite gothic and he loved triangles," says Jenny. "He also really loved wood but I got him to tone it down a bit in the end."
On the ground floor of this wing, which has its own entrance, is garaging, storage, an office and a laundry.
Once the family had somewhere to live, the stables and barn (with accommodation above) were built next and it wasn't until 2010 that the rest of the house was completed.
A floodlit arena sits outside the stables, which have loose boxes, tack rooms and a high-stud garage. An adjoining paddock is set up with jumps; surrounding post-and-rail-fenced paddocks provide grazing. They are vital facilities for a family that enjoys hunt riding and show hunter competitions.
It was Jenny who first discovered the property while riding on a hunt and she was entranced by the sea views from its elevated western end. The house is tucked beneath this ridge to protect it from the elements.
A long driveway winds up to the property and in front of the house it bisects a pond that is fringed with mainly natives. It is one of many ponds - most of them landscaped - that surround the house.
A sunroom at the rear of the new, main part of the house looks out on one of these ponds and the bamboo-floored living area and country-style kitchen overlook another. The sunroom backs on to the main lounge, which is warmed by an open wood fire, although that is hardly needed with the home's insulation, double glazing and a Synergy heating and ventilation system. At the opposite end of this wing is a spacious office while upstairs there are five more bedrooms, two of which have their own en suites and large balconies.
A change in circumstances means the family is moving on but Jenny hopes someone will fulfil Tim's vision of making the property a homestay for visitors wanting to explore all that Muriwai offers. "It would be great to see someone buy it who wants to fill it up with laughter and people."By Graham Hepburn