They may not have won this year's season of The Block NZ, but Ethan Ordish and Sam Whatarangi have captured the hearts of the nation.
The lovable duo, who met as high-school students in Te Kuiti, charmed the viewers with their down-to-earth sense of humour and by being all-round top blokes.
"We were just trying to be ourselves, play the game fair and win based on our own merits," Sam, 27, reveals after the shock finale that saw their apartment sell at the reserve price, meaning they didn't take home any money.
"We did have a bit of a rough run, but this show is about staying true to yourself, even if it doesn't mean winning."
Both Ethan, 26, and Sam admit that they stopped watching the show early in the series. "I'm a tradie and if you get bad scores, people might think you're not good at your job," Sam says.
While the judges repeatedly gave them low marks and they didn't win a single room reveal, they've had some other victories.
They took out the People's Choice Award (which included a Suzuki S-Cross Prestige), a member of the public started a Givealittle page that has raised more than $30,000, and they've been approached to work with brands in the future.
But for now, they're back at home. And while Sam is looking forward to spending time with his girlfriend Ellen Stevenson and catching up with mates to do some hunting and diving, Ethan is awaiting the pitter-patter of tiny feet!
The builder's partner, Mia Broad, 26, discovered she was pregnant just before he started filming the show, which meant spending three months apart.
"I think just missing Ethan was the biggest thing and trying to figure out how to navigate this new stage of our lives without him," Mia shares.
"But it's ok – he's home now for all the fun huge belly stuff!"
"I just want to be my kid's hero," Ethan says. "Someone they look up to – a role model. Someone they can come and talk to when they have to … just setting an example."
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