Michael Brown drives past glow worms at night to get to his luxury home with sea views from every room.

"The drive up to the property is about half a kilometre long through the bush and they're all in there," he says.

"It's unusual to have a house that's a fairly private house at the top of a private drive and that's one of the advantages as you come up through the bush."

There are many other advantages, Michael says.


He and his late wife Maggie bought the house about 20 years ago. Maggie was a Kiwi and Michael, who is from England and was in the mining and construction industry, sailed to New Zealand in 1995 and bought the house in 1997.

"We wanted a house that was different from conventional European builds.

"We just fell in love with it as soon as we walked in the door.

"I think it was the openness. The sea views ... and the privacy. I suppose those three things. The openness, the cleanness, if you like, of the environment, the sea views and the privacy."

The house is so private it is not overlooked by anyone and the views are "magnificent".
The private grounds extend down to the beach and the house is double-glazed and centrally heated.

There are cathedral ceilings in the lounge and the master bedroom, and the house was designed to capture the sun and to maximise the site. All the bedrooms have direct access to decks.

Michael was particularly taken with the wine cellar which is built into the hillside at the lower level with racking for 336 bottles and room for more racks and many more bottles.

A lot of people don't know about Matakatia, he says, but it is perceived by locals as one of the nice bays on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula and it's a safe bathing beach.

"The surrounding bush provides an exciting area for adult children to roam and explore. It is a wildlife sanctuary in its own right."

The bush — on the property and in the neighbouring reserve — has native birds and Michael says tui like to sing from their favourite spot on the end ridge of the roof.

All this and the house is close to medical facilities, shops and a bus stop, plus the ferry to Auckland leaves from only a few minutes away with regular sailings to the city.

All these good points come together as an impression, Michael says.

"You don't actually analyse every single one as your first impression. You come in at the higher level, which is perhaps slightly unusual in a house, and you go down a flight of stairs and it just opens in front of you like the bridge of a ship and you look out at the water.

"If I say it's magical that's overusing prose — but it is."

Michael is originally from Cornwall, a "waterfied county", so he loves the sea and going out on his launch with Sylvie, his second wife.

They have been married eight years and have bought an apartment in nearby Gulf Harbour.

Says Sylvie: "I suppose our head is ruling our heart at the moment but I'm over 70 and my husband's over 80 and you have to look ahead."

Both will miss this house, though, she says.

"You feel like you're in the middle of nature and yet you know the schools and shops are just round the corner."

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