Eliza Romanos visits a Raumati villa whose owners have a history every bit as interesting as their healing home. Photography by Mark Tantrum

Together again
  • The deck is a great place to relax through­out the year

Driv­ing out to Rau­mati, the weath­er looked bleak, but in true Kapiti fash­ion the sun began to play ball the fur­ther up the coast we got. By the time we arrived at Des Hosie and Helen Wise’s home, the day had taken a decidedly prom­ising turn.

And what a greet­ing we had on our arrival. On the door­step were the couple’s two exuber­ant Dal­ma­tian dogs, every bit as anim­ated as the Walt Dis­ney pic­ture itself. Jett and Polly are the couple’s beloved pets and, since their two grown-up daugh­ters have moved out, lively house­mates. The dogs are a big part of their Rau­mati life, and walks to the beach are part of the daily routine.

Des and Helen moved out to the beach from Wadestown three years ago and say they have nev­er felt so at home as they do now, in their 1908 villa and their surroundings.

With­in a couple of weeks, we’d met almost every­one on our street. People came over, intro­duced them­selves and made us feel wel­come. We love that sense of com­munity,” says Des.

Des­pite its age, their villa is also a kind of new kid on the block. In 2003, the house was brought south from Dan­nevirke in two pieces before being spliced back togeth­er on its cur­rent site. The pre­vi­ous own­ers changed the interi­or but recycled ori­gin­al mater­i­als where they could, and were care­ful to keep the tra­di­tion­al villa aspects intact.

Des and Helen have added per­son­al touches to the home, updat­ing it with con­tem­por­ary heat­ing and a 10,000-litre emer­gency water tank, but remain­ing sym­path­et­ic to the villa style that they love. And in a strange twist, the pre­vi­ous own­ers’ par­ents are now Des and Helen’s neighbours.

While the move up the coast has meant a change in loc­a­tion, Des and Helen didn’t have to go too far to find new jobs. Des has been a pro­fes­sion­al fire­fight­er for 31 years, and was able to get a trans­fer to the Par­a­pa­raumu sta­tion. Helen works four days a week in Rau­mati, prac­tising and work­ing toward becom­ing a fully qual­i­fied Bach flower practitioner.

Their home has also played its part in Helen’s work, with a crys­tal-laden heal­ing room now part of the house. That fea­ture of her work has been a recent addi­tion, although hol­ist­ic health has long been a per­son­al interest. She’s even been known to prac­tise on Jett and Polly!

Polly is tim­id, so I use an essence to help her with timid­ity, and Jett can be a bit bois­ter­ous, so I use essences to calm him.”

Helen and Des appre­ci­ate liv­ing in a home with a long his­tory. They, too, have a spe­cial his­tory, hav­ing met when they were just nine and ten years old. The child­hood sweet­hearts spent some years apart, then met again and mar­ried when they were in their 40s.

They’re now grate­fully liv­ing their ideal life togeth­er in what they hap­pily call their dream home.

About Eliza Romanos

A con­firmed Wel­ling­to­ni­an, Eliza comes from a fam­ily of journ­al­ists and has recently com­pleted a BA at Vic­tor­ia Uni­ver­sity in Art His­tory and Media. Now mak­ing her own way in the world of journ­al­ism, she has par­tic­u­lar interests in fash­ion and art. She misses the DTL in lower Cuba Street and the dance floor being at the oth­er end of Good Luck Bar. Eliza lives in a bit­terly cold flat in Brook­lyn but appre­ci­ates the walk into town through Cent­ral Park every morning.

About Eliza Romanos

A confirmed Wellingtonian, Eliza comes from a family of journalists and has recently completed a BA at Victoria University in Art History and Media. Now making her own way in the world of journalism, she has particular interests in fashion and art. She misses the DTL in lower Cuba Street and the dance floor being at the other end of Good Luck Bar. Eliza lives in a bitterly cold flat in Brooklyn but appreciates the walk into town through Central Park every morning.

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