Otematata locals have broken a reality TV scandal with the Country House Hunters NZ show presented by Matt Gibb on TVNZ 1. The couple looking for a holiday home on the show that screened on Wednesday, January 10, already owned the first home they were shown, and were looking to sell it.

The scandal, which aired on the local Otematata Facebook community page, pans out.

A property title search shows Paul Edward Reeves and Adrienne Joy Reeves are listed as the previous owners of 27 Rata Drive, Otematata (house number one), which sold last November for $627,000 – long after the show was filmed. It appears they were the owners of the holiday home for 30 years. The property is now owned by another family.

On the show, Paul and Adrienne fell for the second house they viewed – in the same street. Research shows this house sold at the end of April, 2023 ($620,000), which is shortly after the show was filmed.

The Reeves are the two directors and shareholders of Rata Management Limited, now listed as the current owner of 38 Rata Drive, Otematata.

On the show, Paul and Adrienne are introduced to their own house by Matt Gibb who says: “Let’s see if I can impress them with this one.”

And we see the couple walking up the path as if for the first time. Recent work done on the property, such as the new roof, is pointed out by both Gibb and the owners.

And Adrienne notes: “Looks nice and tidy, and not offensive.” And then Gibb proceeds to tell them about a new carpet and the removal of a wall between the dining room and lounge.

“They’ve knocked that one out, to make it more of an open-plan feel.”

“Would a kitchen like that work for you two?” he asks. And Adrienne says “as long as there’s space for Paul’s coffee machine.”

In a twist of fate, both houses were sold by Cliff and Glenda Meek of Property Brokers, Oamaru, and the Reeves are now their immediate neighbours. They were not involved with the show.

Speaking to Stuff, Cliff Meek said: “There weren’t that many houses in Otematata to show them, I imagine. Two of out three were legit.”

It’s the ‘magic of TV’

When questioned by Stuff, a TVNZ spokesperson said: “Season Two of Country House Hunters was filmed in March 2023. We always endeavour to show participants a broad range of properties to suit their needs, but with filming time constraints and working within currently available housing stock there are occasions where the magic of TV will factor in.”

Meanwhile, Otematata locals have also taken to Facebook to vent their frustration that their town was described by Matt Gibb as being “two hours north of Queenstown”, when they could have said, “about an hour inland from Ōamaru”. As one commenter noted: “North Islanders…. Queenstown is the centre of the universe.”

Otematata, in the Waitaki district, has just 183 permanent inhabitants (2018 census) but is a popular holiday location. It was built in 1958 as a base for workers constructing the Aviemore and Benmore dams. Holidaymakers enjoy watersports on the hydro lakes, fishing, lakeside camping, hiking and cycling.