Indian-born Hema Puthran has lived the quarter-acre Kiwi dream but chose to downsize for the convenience of an inner-city apartment.
"It's just amazing how little you actually need. Your want is unlimited but you need very little to live a decent life," she said.
The 46-year-old grew up in Mumbai where apartment living was the norm.
After migrating to New Zealand in 2002, she and her husband Santosh, 51, bought a "nice big house" in Kelston. The 180sq m home had two living rooms, separate kitchen and space for up to five vehicles.
"Everyone told me, 'Oh my God - who lives in Kelston? It's full of crime.' But it's all we could afford."
After several years in the suburbs, the couple purchased a central city apartment off the plans in Cook St as an investment property in 2005. It cost them $265,000 and they pay $4337.74 a year in body corp fees.
They rented it out for about a year, but after Mr Puthran injured his back, the couple and their teenage son moved into the two-bedroom inner-city pad in 2008 to cut their commute.
They liked it so much they chose to stay, selling their Kelston home and putting most of their things in storage.
Ms Puthran said the family had learned to be "minimalist" and creative in their use of space.
"We buy what we need. I haven't done inorganic [waste] collection in the last eight years. I have no junk."
They have since purchased a section in New Windsor and built a five-bedroom, two-storey home but plan to rent it out. Ms Puthran describes it as her "bach" which she says is a great place to entertain - one thing they find difficult in their 54sq m apartment.
Ms Puthran is a health and safety adviser in the public sector. Though she owns a car, she loves being within walking distance of her workplace and many restaurants.
"It's actually very liberating. You're not stuck and not at the mercy of traffic to get anywhere."
She is conscious that many Kiwis would consider apartment living the poor cousin to owning a house and plot of land. Better quality apartments or terraced houses would make the transition more appealing, she said. "Most Kiwis who grew up with the quarter acre would find it a tremendous shift. They will always think of themselves as a failed house owner who is now living in an apartment."