Penny and Chris Cooper refuse to take life's challenges lying down. If they have to change direction, then they will and they did just that when Chris was diagnosed with cancer about eight years ago.

They lifted their sights beyond their 20ha Pokeno, Waikato farm and Chris' then-job as a police officer and packed their bags.

With their golf clubs in one hand and a map of New Zealand in the other, they headed to Kaitaia in the Far North to play golf.

Buoyed by their golfing friendships throughout the country, they decided to play their way down the country until they found a good place by the coast where Chris could retire to and get well.


They got as far as Welcome Bay, in the Bay of Plenty, where the cruise ships can be seen passing by and where, not too far from here, there are five quality golf courses to enjoy.

They swapped their regional map for a local edition and started house-hunting.

When their first prospective purchase fell through because of poor timing, they turned their attention to this home further along the same street.

Built in the 2000s, this home's spacious layout, big bay views and purchase dates came together as the ideal base.

Penny and Chris packed away their golf clubs, for a while at least, filed away their maps and settled in.

"This house was the right place for us at the right time," says Penny. "This has been about focusing on getting Chris well and getting the best out of our life.

It has been wonderful because Chris could play golf as and when he felt well enough and, in time, he got better.

"It has a lovely feel about it. There's nothing pokey about it; has generous proportions and loads of storage.

"It is north-facing, it is warm in winter and it all opens up in summer so you are never too hot. Every room except the bathrooms, the toilet and the laundry get the views, too."

This home's split-level traditional style is enhanced with grey stained cedar weatherboards with copper soakers on the corners.

Inside, the layout has living areas, bedrooms and car parking options on both levels.

The master bedroom, open plan, living and dining and bathroom are on the entry level, along with the garage with internal access through the laundry into the hall.

Downstairs, three bedrooms, a big guest lounge with kitchenette and driveway parking mean visiting family and friends have their own space.

The kitchen with its laminate wood grain flooring is one of Penny's favourite rooms.

"It is perfect for a right-handed person, everything is within perfect reach and several people can work in here together quite easily. Someone has put a lot of thought into this," she says of its original design.

Penny and Chris' own touch is evident in the Italian 3D corrugated iron-look wallpaper on the lounge feature wall and around the fireplace.

"The original dark feature wall used to absorb the light. This reflects the light and people touch it because it looks so real."

With Chris now recovered, this couple have changed direction again, renting out their house and travelling locally and overseas while planning their future.

In the interim they decided that this large home needed a family to fill it and they needed to downsize.

"The world is a mighty place and there are so many interesting things to do and that's what we want to do," says Penny of their plans to downsize near here or in Mt Maunganui.

On the web link