Filming for The Block NZ is understood to be well under way with a rejig of its hosts and judges for the show's 10th season, called Redemption, starring contestants from past seasons who are being given a "second chance to take out the win".
Mark Richardson will fly solo as host with his former co-presenter, interior design star Shelley Ferguson, heading back to her original role of judging. She'll be alongside fellow design guru, and the original and unapologetic tough judge, Jason Bonham, who rejoins the show after hanging up his harsh-but-fair critiques in 2019.
That should scare a few of the contestants coming back for redemption, as Bonham might indeed be coming back for revenge.
Ōrewa, north of Auckland, is understood to be the satellite Auckland suburb of choice for the builds, but Three is keeping the location secret. The network did, however, confirm Ferguson and Bonham's return to their judging roles.
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Ferguson's business, Shelley Ferguson Studio, which specialises in livable luxury and contemporary design, is busier than ever and, as Spy reported in April, is involved in the multimillion-dollar build of the waterfront Westmere home of toy billionaire Anna Mowbray and partner, former All Black Ali Williams. Ferguson says she's excited to be back for her ninth season on The Block.
"There is some real talent in these returning teams and because they also know what to expect on The Block we will have extra high expectations on them."
As for Bonham, he has never been so busy, but that doesn't mean the profile that comes with being on one of the country's most-watched shows doesn't come in handy. He tells Spy he'll be watching to see how the teams plan spaces and storage, and use colour, texture and lighting.
"Being that the teams are here for a second chance, I have high expectations on design and delivery and to reward teams for being functional, yet creative."
Over recent years his company, Bonham Architecture & Interiors Group, which has offices in St Marys Bay, has trebled in size and has handled some impressive design projects in New Zealand and China, with clients also in Australia, Hong Kong and the US. This year Bonham launched a new gallery space and online platform from which he curates and sells art, heirlooms and luxury furniture.
This week Bonham's new South Island office and studio opened to clients in Arrowtown, next to the uber-trendy Aosta, Sir Michael Hill and A-List chef Ben Bayly's restaurant.
The studio, which will have its grand opening in July, will definitely be popular with local and visiting wealthy clients and design aficionados who are decorating and building the ever-growing multimillion-dollar estates popping up all over Queenstown and greater Central Otago.