A South Island house developed under sad personal circumstances by a former superannuation fund chief and his wife has won four awards for its builder.
Spearhead Developments won the Registered Master Builders southern supreme house of the year for Rangi Kahu [sky of hawks] between Wanaka and Cromwell. It also won a master builders' excellence gold award, the Carters new home $1m-$1.5m category and the local craftsmanship award.
Before he died last November, Paul Costello and wife Denise Ryan Costello developed the house. Costello was founding chief of both the New Zealand Superannuation Fund and Australia's giant Future Fund.
But in sad circumstances, Costello became ill as the construction of the family's dream holiday home in New Zealand started.
Ryan Costello said today she was proud of the four awards, "a testament to an incredible collaboration between the architect, builder and all the tradespeople. They wanted it to be perfect for Paul and it shows".
The house is on former sheep station Queensberry Hills, carved up into 12ha lifestyle blocks on the foothills of the Pisa Range.
The house was a race against the clock for the builder and his team of tradesmen so that Costello could see it.
"The process was extremely moving for all involved," said Ryan Costello, a journalist who wrote about architecture and design for The Age in Melbourne, where the couple moved in 1989 and where they raised their now-adult children, Caitlin and Harry.
The house was designed by Australian architect James Stockwell, best known for his Croft House, chosen by Grand Designs' host Kevin McLeod as one of the top 10 projects.
Ryan Costello said it was significant that a project that cost just over $1m won the supreme house award when it was up against more expensive places.
Builder Nick Mizzi of Spearhead won the craftsmanship award against teams working on much more expensive projects of up to $4 million, she said.
"Even to win the category was great as we came in at just over $1 million on cost," she said.
"The house and studio look like hawks from an aerial view and hawks fly in front of the house," she said.
Paul Costello was raised on a Canterbury farm but he was too ill to plant 1000 tussocks that had been delivered just as the project started.
"Being a farm boy he loved all that. So the neighbours, who included some of the tradesmen such as the immaculate tiler, turned up flash mob-style and planted them all," she said.