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This rural oasis in Hawke’s Bay is home to many animals

A bare piece of land in the Hawke’s Bay was transformed into the perfect rural oasis for this lucky couple and their menagerie

Who lives here? 

Rae West (artist), and husband Martin Hamer (vet and owner of EmbryoCo), plus Sol the white Swiss shepherd dog, cats Sushi and Molly Moo, horses Otis and Neo, Boer goats, chickens and sheep.


Driving down the tree-lined road, it’s hard to believe we’re only minutes from city life. The world slows down ever so slightly at the home of artist Rae West and her husband, Martin Hamer, and that suits them fine. In 2008, the couple made the decision to uproot their life in Kaiapoi, just north of Christchurch, and replant themselves and their collection of animals in Hawke’s Bay. With friends and family in the region, it seemed the perfect place to call home, and as they were both self-employed, the move seemed fairly simple.

After a fruitless search for the right piece of land, Rae’s brother-in-law suggested the small town of Clive, halfway between Napier and Hastings, and it was there that they found a bare 1.6-hectare lot. The property was in an idyllic rural setting yet only a hop, skip and a jump to each city, and you could smell the salt air of the ocean. “It was perfect,” says Rae.

Decor tips 

  • See if your local kitchen joiners will part with offcuts of marble. Put rubber feet on them to make trivets to protect your benchtop from hot pans.
  • Bamboo flooring looks and feels like wood but is super-durable and scratch-proof. Even the dog sliding his big claws along it doesn’t damage it.
  • Fill your home with things that make you smile. Over the years I have collected New Zealand art and mementos from our travels.
  • Add wheels to heavy outdoor pots before planting them. That way you can easily move them around when you want a change.

Words by: Vic Bibby. Styling by: Bibby + BradyPhotography by: Sarah Horn.

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