Our First Home’s Goran has his mother’s support

Our First Home host Goran Paladin tells of his special bond with his mum, who raised him and his two siblings solo after her husband passed away.
Our First Home Goran

Our First Home host Goran Paladin is the perfect candidate to be hosting a home renovation show, since it wasn’t long ago that the 34-year-old was stumbling through his own first home purchase on Auckland’s North Shore. But Goran admits any woes he suffered pale in comparison to those of his mum, Margaret (63). “I had no idea how hard it must have been for Mum. I bought this house on my own,” he says, gesturing around his three-bedroom property, purchased in 2011, “but I had a full-time job and didn’t have three kids. How she managed to get us into a house and clothe and feed us, I don’t even know.”

Born in Parramatta, Sydney, Goran was just four years old when his father Zdravko passed away. His widow Margaret and their three children – Daniel (39), Nadia (36) and, of course, Goran – relocated back to her home country, New Zealand. With the little cash she had, Margaret purchased a small section in Pakuranga, East Auckland, on which she built a three-bedroom home with the help of a family friend, Morris. “We struggled a lot in the beginning,” Margaret recalls. “All I could afford to bring over with me was the children’s bedroom furniture. It even took a while to afford carpet.”

Dad Zdravko passed away when Goran (on Margaret’s knee) was four years old.

Although times were tough, Goran and his siblings never went without. Working several jobs, including a role at Ashton Scholastic and later helping children through Barnardos, Margaret did everything she could to support her children – often at the expense of everyday luxuries. Forgoing a car, Margaret’s options to transport her children between after-school hobbies were limited, which meant that what one was doing, so too did the others. “We used to play tennis at the same club, football at the same association, swimming – which I hated,” Goran recalls. Margaret adds, “Whatever they joined, they had to do for the duration of a term, because I couldn’t afford for them to leave once I’d bought all the equipment and paid all the fees.”

The Paladins also banded together for an after-school job delivering leaflets. “The kids all worked as a team, sitting on the floor and folding the pamphlets. They did really well,” Margaret tells, looking at her son. “I’m really grateful for what Mum did for us,” Goran says. “Of course, I didn’t make things any easier for her! I always wanted lollies from the dairy or I’d whine that I wanted the latest game console. But she never let us go without.” And even with her children all grown up, the support hasn’t stopped. Although she wasn’t able to financially aid Goran in the same way that the Our First Home families have, Margaret was there for every step of the process.

When Goran was on the hunt for a property of his own, Margaret was with him every step of the way.

Together, they traipsed around town scoping out potential locations, and then, when it came time to update the 1970s décor, Margaret crossed town each evening – lending a woman’s touch to the home of her single son. They only butted heads once, says Goran, and it was over the window coverings. “I don’t remember having any disagreements!” Margaret says with a laugh, throwing a look at Goran who maintains that putting up curtains was a point of tension between them. “But when you’re doing things you’re unused to, it can be frustrating.” She’s also been filling his freezer with food, as Goran juggles his on-screen role with his full-time job as a Radio Sport presenter/producer. “Before I took on the hosting role, I had no idea how much work was going to be thrown at me,” Goran admits. “It got to the point where I hadn’t had a decent meal in the longest time, so Mum whipped up a few lasagne dishes that I could just reheat.”

Margaret is incredibly proud of her son’s move from behind the radio mic to out in front of the camera. But while the world of home renovation is in Goran’s blood – his father worked as a builder before he passed away –  when asked if they’d ever enter a show like Our First Home, the answer from the pair is a resounding “no”. “I don’t know the first thing about building!” Goran says with a laugh. “Dad would have been a great help, but without him, we’d just end up bickering. “If we were a family on the show, we’d definitely be the Wardlaws, because I’d get annoyed and storm out, while Nadia and Mum would be in tears – and then none of the work would get done!”       nice would be quite good – deep down to their core!”

Our First Home airs Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays on TV One.

Get The Australian Woman’s Weekly NZ home delivered!  

Subscribe and save up to 38% on a magazine subscription.

Related stories