Tomorrow night’s arrival of a new series of TV3’s The Block NZ has NZ on Screen’s Nicky Harrop looking back to a kinder, gentler age of home and garden TV shows.

While the current crop of reality TV-style home and garden shows have a highly commercial look that marks them out as products of their time, Kiwi television viewers' interest in doing-it-yourself in your house and garden isn't a new thing.

Way back in the 1970s, Eion Scarrow dug his way into the hearts of many with our first national television gardening show, Dig This. The series launched in 1979, and ran for over a decade, with a gumboot-clad Scarrow dirtying his hands in a specially created garden in the grounds of Avalon Studios. Known for his down-to-earth advice, Scarrow tackles viewer questions on rotting onions and the pitfalls of establishing a blueberry crop, in this episode of the show. Scarrow passed away in 2013, aged 81.

Watch an episode of Dig This here:
Dig This - 1979 Episode

Pre-dating Grand Designs, TVNZ show Open Home featured innovative builds and architects, renovation dilemmas and Kiwi personalities in their homes. Presented by actor Jennifer Ward-Lealand and builder (and future Dunedin mayor) Dave Cull, this episode drops in on the home of late DJ Kevin Black.

Watch the debut episode of Open Home here:
Open Home - First Episode

Riding the late 90s wave of the NZ property boom, Location Location Location followed the tension and drama of the real estate market. The series ran the gamut, profiling 'do-ups' to mansions, and making something of a star out of agent Michael "million dollar man" Boulgaris along the way. This debut episode opens with the now rather laughable concept of a couple looking for "something in Auckland under $200k."


Watch Location Location Location here:

In her life before politics, National Party MP Maggie Barry hosted another hit 90s TV series - Maggie's Garden Show (originally Palmers Garden Show), which ran from 1991 to 2003 on TV ONE. Barry was teamed with 'bug man' Ruud Kleinpaste, Bill Ward, Jack Hobbs and Professor John Walker. This episode highlights the 2000 Ellerslie Garden Show.

Watch Maggie's Garden Show here:
Maggie's Garden Show - Ellerslie Flower Show Special

Presented by Jim Mora, Mucking In rallied locals together to reward a community hero with a surprise garden makeover. A feel-good hit, Mora has said of the series: "It was probably the nicest thing that anyone in television would ever have the chance to do." This episode recognises a dedicated Mangere Bridge teacher, with a swish new garden.

Watch Mucking In here:
Mucking In - First Episode

Marae DIY brings a tangata whenua twist to the home renovation format. Described as "the programme which helps marae knock out their 10 year plans in just four days," the unique mix of mahi, humour, whānau-spirit, tikanga (protocol) and history has seen the long-running series win several awards. This episode heads to Manutuke Marae, south of Gisborne.

Watch Marae DIY here: