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The leopard skin leggings, big hair and country music were only ever taking her down one path, really. Music mega-star Shania Twain is finally living in a trailer. Well, a caravan.

And to be fair, the Canadian star, who lives in Switzerland, is only roughing it for a year or two as she watches her multimillion-dollar Kiwi getaway estate take shape.

Twain, with her husband, producer Robert "Mutt" Lange, and their 5-year-old son Eja, bought the 24,731ha slice of Wanaka high country three years ago but secrecy has surrounded the massive amount of construction taking place.

The building site is on top of a ridge, on the southern side of a knoll in the Motatapu Valley. It is about 1.4km from the original homestead and has stunning views down the Motatapu River to Lake Wanaka.

Rumour has it Lange has taken to staying on the farm while his superstar wife is touring, but last week she was back in town.

The couple spent $21.4 million on the station and are building a diamond-shaped complex on top of a ridge, just over 1km from an existing homestead. The property is now likely to be worth more than $30m.

But resource consents have proved difficult. Some of the 17 conditions they need to comply with include having to immediately replace any dying plant or tree, have a good water supply in case of fire and plant the same grasses as those growing around the homestead.

They are allowed to build a one-level house with two guest cottages, a garage and ancillary structures - it is believed Twain, a keen horsewoman, has included an equestrian facility in the plans.

The family are still at the centre of bickering about a tramping track they agreed to allow as one of the conditions for building.

But when Twain dons a baseball cap and mooches around town, the locals love her.

Radio Wanaka owner Ed Taylor said Twain was not the diva type.

"She doesn't come to town and get drunk... She keeps very much to herself.

"Most people that come in contact with her just say she's lovely, she's so down-to-earth and so is her husband."

Many locals thought it "tacky" that a fan took the singer's photo when she was shopping at a fruit and veggie store in Wanaka recently, Taylor said.

Local contractors were working on the estate and the star couple stayed in a caravan on site, he said.

The millionaire couple still used their private jet to flit in and out of town at will.

A builder, who has been working on the site for about 18 months, told the Herald on Sunday everyone employed by the famous family had signed confidentiality agreements.

"I can't really talk about it," he said. "It's pretty secure up there - no visitors... no photos... no information. They're pretty private."

He said the couple were back in Switzerland at the moment and would not say when they had last been in Wanaka.

But he was surprised to hear the rumour that they were on the site last week. "I don't know where you're getting your information from."

Shania facts

* Shania Twain is set to receive her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame this year.

* Worldwide, she has sold more than 85 million albums.

* After a slow-selling first two albums, her third, produced with the help of husband Robert "Mutt" Lange, struck gold.

* The 1997 album Come on Over sold 34 million copies, making it the most successful female solo artist album of all time.

* As well as the title track, it included megahits That Don't Impress Me Much, Man! I feel like a Woman, You're Still the One and You've Got a Way.

* Since that stunner, Shania has released two albums - Up! in 2002, and Greatest Hits in 2004.