Bodybuilding champ Fawad Ahadi's family crossed the harbour bridge to move to the countryside on Auckland's North Shore. It's a brief journey — unlike the one from war-torn Afghanistan to their first Kiwi home, in suburban Te Atatu.
Fawad was around 12 at the time. The family liked Te Atatu but decided to move when Fawad and his siblings enrolled at Massey University, in Albany.
Being together is important for the Ahadis, Fawad says, and the big house they found on a rural estate in Dairy Flat allowed them the safety and security they needed, plus it had a swimming pool and plenty of space for everyone.
They moved there around 2001-2002. "We were just driving around checking out the area and we came across this property and a few others," says Fawad. "I showed the family, mum and dad, and we just fell in love with it.
"It's so close to Albany but you feel like you're away from everything. It almost feels like a holiday home, yet you're five minutes away from the mall, university, schools."
There's eight-car garaging (plus other parking), the swimming pool, a backyard, a huge master bedroom and six bedrooms in all, plus plenty of living and play spaces.
"And because I was quite active with my sports and stuff there was the space to train at home, and there was enough room for myself and my siblings to have our own space. It's a massive property."
It is one of 63 properties in Goodland Country Estate. Residents have a share of the tennis court and community centre, even paddocks where there are sheep and cattle.
There's also a great playground for children.
One of the things Fawad likes about the house is that while it is luxurious, it also feels like a home.
The kitchen has a walk-in pantry, there are sliding doors opening up rooms, and surround sound to listen to.
"There are basically three parts to the house, with the east wing, the west wing, and the upstairs," says Fawad.
The east wing has three bedrooms and a big bathroom. The west wing has its own entrance with living area and two more bedrooms. Upstairs is the master bedroom with double walk-in wardrobe, big en suite and spacious private deck.
Fawad says the pool saw a lot of action. "Growing up you would find myself and my brother playing and jumping in the pool until 11 o'clock at night with the music playing.
"I loved everything about the house because there was so much. I never got bored because there was always something to do.
"I would either be training, or in the office studying for my university, or in the media room.
"On a hot day there was always the swimming pool — it was the perfect place to be."
For Fawad's parents the best thing about the house was that it allowed everyone to be together in a secure and peaceful environment.
Fawad says the family is selling only because it is time to move on.
His brother and sister are married and have moved back to Te Atatu, and the house is too big for him and his parents.
Fawad says Goodland Estate itself is unlikely to change.
"The areas around — Albany and other parts of Dairy Flat — might become very crowded in five or 10 years but Goodland Estate will stay as it is."
33 LANGFORD PL, GOODLAND ESTATE, DAIRY FLAT
• 6 bedrooms, 4 bathroom, 8* parking spaces.
• Land 2781sq m, house 620sq m.
• Expression of interest: Close March 7 (unless sold prior).
• Inspect: Call for times.
• Schools: Dairy Flat Primary, Albany Junior and Senior colleges.
• Contact: Ailsa McArthur, Bayleys, 027 298 4000.
*Plus at least 8 car parks