Aotea Bach

Aotea Harbour, Waikato

This holiday house occupies an exquisite and little known promontory on New Zealand’s western coastline.  Designed as a cosy sanctuary for extended family and friends it seamlessly unfolds in three directions to respond to changing wind and climate.  With views over both Aotea Harbour and the Tasman Sea, those within this home are always aware of the ever-changing landscape.

Completed 2017

NZIA Waikato Bay of Plenty Architecture Award 2019 - Residential


This holiday house occupies an exquisite and little known promontory on New Zealand’s western coastline.  Although on a modest-sized site (600 sqm) , the house seamlessly unfolds in three directions to create the feeling of expansiveness, and provide outdoor courtyards that respond to views, wind and climate.  It is a cosy sanctuary for the extended family and friends the year round.

The clients also wanted the architecture to acknowledge the Maori heritage of the site.  The use of palisade style fencing and timber cladding that will age naturally over time provide subtle references to this. The house itself is located beyond the edge of the outer garden areas of the adjacent historic Horoure Pa site, which dates back to 1600.

The central living space opens out onto three outdoor areas, with panoramic views over the eastern bay.  Two fireplaces are located on opposite sides of the house, one internal and one external.  At the western end of the home, the main bedroom takes advantage of panoramic views over the Tasman Sea coastline.  The brief for the house required that it can accommodate family gatherings of 5-10 guests, while also feeling snug and compact for just two people to easily open up and use as a seaside getaway.  The first floor bunkroom, offering equally impressive views over the harbour, is located above the garage and can remain closed off if not required.

Building on such an exposed site during one of the wettest years on record was a formidable challenge for Stewart Hanna Builders. A very high level of workmanship was required for much of the highly crafted detail and intricate structure. Stewart Hanna Builders was awarded a Gold Award in the 2018 Master Builders New Home Category. Turton Oliver Interior Designers assisted with the interior design, décor fittings and furniture.

NZIA Waikato Bay of Plenty Architecture Award 2019 - Residential

Jury Citation

“Perched on an exquisite promontory, this holiday home skilfully manages to provide excellent views of a nearby historic pā and Aotea harbour while negotiating the constant demands of shelter from wind. To achieve this, three building forms have been carefully composed to create pleasant courtyards. Inside and out the house the careful detailing and natural material selections contribute to a relaxed and congenial ambience. This is a home that could - and should - be enjoyed all-year round.”

Contact Paua Architects
Paua Architects on Facebook
Paua Architects on Instagram

Procuta Associates Urban + Architecture

NZIA Registered PracticeNZ Registered Architect
Duotone Design