The Building Diaries: Part 1, The Section :
Build me. Editor Hana Deavoll and family are building their own home in Queenstown. Follow the journey as they buy land, plan their dream home and oversee the building process. The Deavoll Family includes Hana (37), builder Sam (36), and their three children Indy (7), Phoenix (4) and Sonny (2). 


Sourcing a Section 

The Journey began in April 2013. After selling our house in Lake Hayes Estate we were very happy renting for the time being but also had our eye out looking for a perfect section to build our new home in Queenstown. The section we were looking for needed to be north facing, have plenty of room for the kids to run about, and preferably be located in the Lake Hayes Estate community that we were renting in. However Lake Hayes Estate sections were limited, and expensive.

The nearby and brand new Shotover Country subdivision was offering sections for sale directly from the developer, with only 5% deposit required and balance on title. In addition, The Ministry of Education had just purchased a large block of land in Shotover Country for Queenstown’s newest primary school. This helped us make the decision to look for a section to buy in this subdivision.

Shotover Country - Building in NZ - Buying a section

The Shotover Country subdivision

Buying direct from the Developer 

Buying wasn’t that straightforward though. The buying process involved signing up to the developers database, then waiting for an email to advise when the next lot of sections would be released. When the email came through, it said that the sections and prices would be released at 7pm in one weeks time, and they would be sold on a first come first served basis. That week gave us time to check out the sections and choose the ones we liked the best. All the sections were pretty good - good sun and views towards the mountains. Some of the sections were situated along a terrace with views to the west that couldn't be built out. I put the terrace sections to the top of my list, they were perfect. Previous releases of Shotover Country subdivisions had sold out within hours, so I knew we had to be on the ball. I set my alarm for 645pm on the prescribed day, with the intention of making a quick decision and phone call to secure a section. Except, I forgot.


With three kids to get to bed and dishes to do, I somehow missed my alarm and it wasn’t until 9pm that I sat down in front of my computer and saw that the section release email had come through. Oh no!!! My heart dropped with the knowledge that I had missed out on our dream section. Regardless, I picked up the phone and called the developer. They were buzzing, the entire release had sold out except for a couple of sections which were a few sites back from the terrace. She suggested that I put my name on back-up in case any sales did not go through. Some of the sections already had 2-3 names on back up, so I chose one along the terrace where I would be second in line. It was a decent sized section – 885sqm, with 605sqm nett due to a planting barrier along the top of the terrace, and a right of way driveway. A bit smaller than ideal, but size was something we were willing to sacrifice if we were lucky enough to get it.


Building in NZ - Buying a section - Shotover Country

The stage 5 sales plan for Shotover Country


Our Section

Two days later I got the call  – the first in line person had pulled out, would I like to purchase the section? Of course! Thank you!  

Our section is Lot 146, 28 Myles Way. The sale price was $235,000. The other sections in this release ranged from $205,000-$250,000 so we were happy with the price. I knew that the site had potential to increase in value with the amazing views and the school just down the road. We had to put a 5% deposit of $11,750 down to secure the site, as well as sign a Sale and Purchase agreement. We would then have approximately a year before having to use our remaining savings, and a mortgage, to actually purchase the property.

building in nz - buying a section - Shotover Country section

Our section, with views to the west.



That was March 2014. Title came through in April 2015, which has meant we have had over a year to think about what we want to build without having to pay any mortgage payments. We visit the site often, have picnics and enjoy the view. The new school has now opened and is just 200m down the road. We feel so grateful that we secured this prime section early, as demand in Shotover Country has markedly increased.



As for our family home and Build me. HQ, the plans have been drawn up and we are in the process of getting a building consent. These details will be shared in my next article soon, The Building Diarys: Part 2, The Design.....


Are you looking for a section to build on in NZ? Read our top tips on sourcing a section in the Build me. Articles.