• Video: Stuart and Sarah Nash's big plans for Napier heritage building

Video: Stuart and Sarah Nash's big plans for Napier heritage building

Standing outside the old Napier courthouse on Marine Parade, Stuart and Sarah Nash have no doubt the daunting task that awaits them to turn the old building into their family home and an Airbnb.

Hawke’s Bay App spoke to the former Labour Cabinet Minister and his wife outside their new purchase, which is now known as Conservation House. The building, which has been the local Department of Conservation office for the past 35 years, will be the family home, but the bottom left wing will be used as an Airbnb. The house is more than 1100 square metres.

The building, which was one of few to survive the 1931 Hawke’s Bay earthquake, was part of a Treaty of Waitangi settlement for Mana Ahuriri. The Trust put it on the market last year.

Stuart Nash said: “Look at this building. It's built in 1875. Most people in Napier who have been here for the last 35, 40 years know it is Conservation House because it was bought by the Department of Conservation in the mid-eighties.”

“It was then handed over to Mana Ahuriri as part of their settlement, but they made a decision obviously that it wasn't part of their long-term vision. And I think Mana Ahuriri have some magnificent plans for the bay, there's no doubt about that.”

Sarah Nash says that the size is something that” I think will take a wee well for us to all adjust to because in the centre of the house is this big courtroom, basically.”

“That's a big space that we're going to have to fill. But most of it, majority of the house, probably two thirds of it will be our residence, and then we're going to operate a Airbnb.”

Stuart Nash says the plan is to rename the building Ashton House in memory of the local builder who built it.

He says he remembers receiving a phone call from Sarah telling him the building was on the market. “What do you reckon?"  she asked him.

“We both went, ‘Oh, really?’ And then we both sat down and took a look at it and go, imagine that as a really cool family home.”

“And we both could and we bought it. There's a little bit of work that needs doing outside, there's no doubt about that. You can tell it by looking at it, but Doc did a good job inside.”

“It's got beautiful lead press ceilings. The rooms are set up as offices, but as Sarah mentioned, very easy converted into kids' playrooms, bedrooms, living spaces. We do need to put a kitchen in. There's a lot of toilets, not many showers. We need to sort that out. But again, we can have a little bit of fun whilst maintaining its integrity.”

Sarah Nash says: “We are just going to look how we embrace that and I think we are so spoiled living here on a Napier, this is such a beautiful position. The library's just behind us, the museum's just behind us. Nothing's too far from here.”

Late last year, Nash listed his 1915s five bedroom/two bathroom family home on Bluff Hill family home for sale. He says that while there has been interest, they have not received an offer yet.

Watch the accompanying video to see the full interview with Sarah and Stuart Nash.