The summer holidays are for many, a favourite time of year. But for some, this holiday season is more special, or a bit different, than usual. Or both. In a Herald series, Our First Summer, we are profiling people who are celebrating their first summer with a change in their lives.

Matt and Kirsty Stone, and their two tots, started 2018 in a bach at the beach.

The endless stretch of black sand at Muriwai is a great place to burn off the pressures of the year.

But the couple go home this week with smiles on their faces too because, for the first time, their home really is their home.


The Kiwi dream of having a patch of soil, with something to live in on top of it, has come true for the Auckland couple.

Just before the final month of the 2017, the parents of Gus, 2, and Koko, seven months,
became the owners of a three bedroom do-up in Stanmore Bay.

And six days before Christmas - after starting renovations as soon as they turned the key - the family moved in.

It's not a bad way to end the year, Matt Stone told the Herald.

And it's going to get even better.

"We're looking forward to relaxing a bit and just enjoying our new space and doing all these exciting things.

"We've got heaps of plans, so it's just about living there for a while and just solidifying those plans and seeing how things work."

The couple, who are both aged in their early 30s, saved for at least two years before taking the home ownership plunge, he said.

Stone is a musician and music teacher at Rangitoto College, and his wife works as a wedding photographer, so getting the bank to agree to a mortgage had its challenges.

And while renting life wasn't bad, as home was a family-owned rental, there was still nothing like knowing you owned the roof over your kids' heads.

He had words of encouragement for others hoping to emulate their accomplishment.

"Be patient. Try to stay positive. It's easy to feel really negative when you miss out on something or something ends up being way over your budget.

"But you'll find something eventually. Just try to keep your vision alive."