Celebrity News

Our First Home: The Roughans’ Secret Retreat

Behind the scenes with parents Pat and Lyn, who share the hideaway that’s kept them sane.

It’s a world away from their current lives – hurriedly overhauling a house in breakneck speed for reality TV – but for Pat and Lyn Roughan, their slice of heaven is at home on their farm, just outside Gore.

Returning home for a break in filming, the Roughans are enjoying the peace and quiet of their 40-hectare sheep farm, 30 minutes’ drive from Gore.

But what’s come as a huge surprise to the couple – particularly Pat, who admits he hasn’t left the farm for more than a couple of weeks in the last 30 years – is that they’re actually quite enjoying their time in the Big Smoke.

“Auckland’s not all that bad!” he laughs. “There really are some beautiful spots and the people have been so lovely to us. The only thing I could complain about is the traffic!”

The couple are currently competing on TV One reno show Our First Home with daughter Stephanie (24) and her boyfriend Sam Gifford (29), while Pat’s cousin Trevor, with the help of a few contractors, is looking after the farm.

The property itself has been in the family since Pat’s dad came home from World War II.

“I’ve now been on the farm as long as Dad had it,” tells Pat (60), who adds that farming has provided countless challenges in his three decades in charge.

“The ‘80s were obviously a difficult time,” he says with a sigh. “Interest rates soared and we were hurting badly.” “Plus,” cuts in Lyn (53), “we’d just had our first child!”

“It really toughened us up, though, especially as I couldn’t go back to work and we were down to one income.”

Lyn had worked as a dental nurse in the early years, and it was after she had completed training that she was sent to Southland from Canterbury to work and met Pat.

Despite considering a transfer, she decided to stay put and the couple has now been married for an impressive 34 years.

“We’re still happy, would you believe!” laughs Lyn. “Of course, like every marriage, we have our ups and downs, but we’ve always stuck together.”

It’s a union that has produced four children and two young grandchildren – yes, the hard-working Roughans are also grandparents!

Their youngest child and only son Lucas (22) lives in Gore, while their three girls are all spread across the country. Eldest Kate (31), a mum to Jack (3) and one-year-old Emily, lives a six-hour drive away in Darfield, while Ainslie (27) lives in Auckland – a great bonus for the family, who’ve called on her for help during the show.

But their biggest weapon on Our First Home has so far been daughter Steph, who recently graduated with a masters in architecture after moving to Wellington.

It was in the Windy City that she met her boyfriend Sam, a planner for the city council who was also one of the founders of the Christchurch Student Volunteer Army. Being able to call on Steph’s design training has so far led the Roughans to a number of wins in the show’s design-based challenges.

But while her creativity is impressing the judges, Steph’s straight-talking approach and refusal to compromise have given her parents more than the occasional headache. While last year’s families

on the show included several builders, Pat admits he’s more at home tending livestock and repairing the odd fence than planning a major construction – and Steph’s ideas are getting more and more complex.

“Steph has impressed me with her knowledge and her skills,” begins Pat, “but I guess the problem is her designs are getting too difficult for Dad to actually build! She is very strong-minded, so she doesn’t like to hear me say it can’t be done. But we’re getting there – we’re working it out.

“She and Sam are the ones with the expertise – they know how to go through the consent process and all those bits and pieces, so we’re quite happy to take the back seat and let them be in charge.”

And although he said he wasn’t going to do it, Pat has been sitting down with Lyn to watch the show.

“It’s very interesting for me because there are things I didn’t know about that are happening,” he says.

Pat with Steph’s boyfriend Sam on the show.

Pat and Lyn with their kids Kate, Ainslie, Lucas and Steph.

Adds Lyn, “We get to see the challenges the kids go on and what all the other families are up to!”

But the pair say they’re still feeling “pretty grounded” about their new TV status – which is certainly helped by their Southland lifestyle.

“You’ll never get the gushing TV star status in Gore,” laughs Pat. “I normally only make it into town about once a week, but no one there cares much if you’re on the telly!”

Words: Alice O’Connell

Get NZ Woman’s Weekly home delivered!  

Subscribe and save up to 29% on a magazine subscription.

Related stories