Liz Barnett's one-night stand with a dramatic sunset here has never waned in the 13 years she's spent living above West Auckland's famous coastline. In fact, it has blossomed into a full-blown love affair with all the sentimental photos that go with it.

It began one evening back in February 2005 when Liz and husband Peter came through the property with their real estate agent.

"There was this most amazing sunset. It was unbelievable," says Liz. "I kept telling myself 'Don't look at the sunset, don't look at it'.



"The sunset was following us right through the house and I was trying to concentrate on the rest of the house, telling myself, 'Is the rest of the house okay?'"

This house was just fine. "We couldn't believe our luck. When we first moved here, we felt as though we'd gone on holiday," she says.

As for those sunsets: "Today, if there's an amazing sunset, I still feel compelled to take a photo of it."

Liz's subject is the backdrop to the coastal stretch from Bethells Beach and the start of the Te Henga walkway to Muriwai Beach.

It defines this property, known as Harrier's Reach for the hawks flying overhead. It also defines the entire western face of the house, from its decks, sunroom and study to two deck-side bedrooms and bathrooms.

It is also the piece de resistance in the lounge, through the central picture window. The moving images don't stop at the sunsets either.

This window is the perfect spot for Peter's pull-down movie screen when darkness descends.

Little is known about this 1920s bungalow except for its relocation here in 1982, its villa-style fretwork, and some 1960s windows that were added by previous owners.

But it has been the perfect first home in New Zealand for Liz and Peter and their young son, Will. They bought it six months after arriving from rural England.

Their first task was to upgrade the bathrooms, both of which have built-in baths. Then they set about getting involved in the local Muriwai community and its outdoor lifestyle opportunities, in the same way they lived life back in the UK.

Liz also tackled the garden, discovering how she could inject colour with more hardy New Zealand natives than with her more familiar English flora and fauna.

"This whole area just screams New Zealand, with the green of the rolling hills and the bush that meets the blue of the sea," she says. "It has just done so much for me from day one."

Apart from a new roof, their biggest project has been the new kitchen. Stripped of carpet to reveal native floors, it has touches of the outdoors in the luminous specks of its granite bench.

"It feels as if it comes alive," Liz says. She is delighted too with the moody hue of her blue splashback.

"It comes to life and changes its colour depending on the weather."

Business opportunities brought this couple to New Zealand. Liz is a marketing executive,
Peter's in e-commerce and Will's secondary education are keeping them busy. They all feel honoured to have lived here and sad to be leaving for a shift closer to the city, that is better suited to their family needs.

• 4 bedrooms, 2 bathroom, 2 parking spaces.
• Land 3.038ha, house 250sq m, plus 250sq m of decks.
• Sale: By negotiation.
• Inspect: Sun 2-3pm.
• Schools: St Paul's School, Waimauku School, Massey High School.
• Contact: Prudence Foster, Sotheby's, 0274 867783,