Multimillion-dollar penthouses and grassroots clubrooms were dinner topics at Wednesday night's luxury soiree thrown by Bravo to launch its two new local TV offerings.
New reality TV stars in attendance included former Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett and former All Blacks Stephen Donald and Israel Dagg, who joined nearly 50 guests to enjoy champagne cocktails and a decadent three-course meal at Mantells in Mt Eden.
Bennett and the boys were flanked by their new co-stars for real estate show Rich Listers and feel-good, do-up show, Clubhouse Rescue. Rich Listers, which starts in September, is full of brash, flash money talk, with some of the cast nervous about the inevitable backlash that comes with being a new reality star. That's in sharp contrast to the heart-warming, feel-good Clubhouse Rescue show, which premieres in October.
Bravo had its launch in style to celebrate having more Kiwi faces on the channel.
The Auckland-filmed The Circus, which screened on Bravo last year, and having several Kiwis appear on the channel's hit series Below Deck were building blocks to Wednesday night's announcements of more than a dozen Kiwis about to appear on the channel.
Bennett, who currently works for Bayley's as its national director of customer engagement, is undoubtedly the star attraction of Rich Listers.
The Give us a Clue host says she's excited about the rest of the world seeing the best New Zealand has to offer in Auckland, Wellington and Queenstown. It's not just the multimillion-dollar real estate either, she says. The filming showcased tourist areas like Queenstown perfectly.
The show will feature the highest and most expensive penthouse suite ever to go on the market, an entire island, and alpine estates in Queenstown, each worth more than $30 million dollars.
Rich Listers agents to watch are Annabel Marshall of Bayleys, who told Spy she openly admits on the show that she isn't yet as successful as many of the cast.
Spy knows, however, that she is best friends with the children of some of New Zealand's wealthiest families and selling just one of their houses would help make her career overnight.
The charming former Miss New Zealand, Holly Cassidy appears with her grandmother Cheryl Whiting, who is famous for her well-monied black book and has a fiery sharp wit on the show with her "been there, seen that" attitude.
Dave McCartney of Ray White, a former stand-up comedian, promises to make jaws drop with his one-liners. And there'll be no shortage of rivalry and drama between the cast with real-estate stars like Harcourts' No 2 nationwide top seller, Diego Traglia, competing. He missed the launch dinner, opting to holiday in Fiji instead.
Clubhouse Rescue has found a chemistry match not seen since Matthew Ridge and Marc Ellis hit the screen together. Dagg has carved out a career with Sky Sport, as has Donald, who is also a budding booze baron with All Blacks Damian McKenzie and Anton Lienert-Brown, partners in RTD brand Grins.
The good humour towards Donald and his baron status was delivered well by the evening's MC, radio personality and fellow RTD company co-owner Jay Reeve, of Pals.
Donald and Dagg make unannounced visits to grassroots sports clubs in need of a makeover, across New Zealand. Spy learned that a collection of ageing rugby, tennis, and golf clubs, and even a roller-blade clubroom, will all get some much-needed love.
The pair, who can make buying glue guns look sexy, will help bring new life to the rundown clubhouses. To help them are interior designer Hamish Dodd, of My House My Castle fame, and interior design specialist Catherine Portland, who were both at Wednesday's dinner.