Al­ice McKin­ley runs Kin, a mar­ket­ing and events busi­ness in Napier.

Sunday Star-Times - Sunday Magazine - - HOMED - In­ter­view / Sinead Cor­co­ran Pho­to­graph / Vivi­enne Hal­dane

My par­ents have owned this house since my old­est brother was born – 35 years. I’m 30 so ob­vi­ously I’ve been away trav­el­ling since then and liv­ing in Auck­land, but be­fore that I lived in this house my whole life. It’s the old­est house in the area, the very first one built back in the 1800s. We’ve got mas­sive 200-year-old trees out the back be­cause it used to be an or­chard. It’s a re­ally spe­cial place.

Peo­ple are al­ways of­fer­ing to buy this house and Mum and Dad just can’t do it. They’ve looked at so many other beau­ti­ful houses and al­most moved out lots of times, but have never been able to bring them­selves to sell. They can’t part with it.

My dad’s a vet so we had lots of re­ally weird an­i­mals run­ning around the back­yard when I was grow­ing up. We’ve had a horse, a baby os­trich, lambs, ex­otic birds, ev­ery­thing. And when you look at the back­yard it’s not like it’s a farm, it’s a nor­mal back­yard. It was so weird.

I grew up very mu­si­cal. When I was 4, I begged my par­ents for a piano and I got it when I turned 5 be­cause they knew I wasn’t go­ing to shut up about it. Nat­u­rally, they wanted to get one that was go­ing to fit in with the rest of the house, so they bought this beau­ti­ful an­tique one. Sadly if you tried to sell it now you wouldn’t get much for it, but back then they paid a truck­load for it just be­cause they wanted it to fit in with this room. I love this room so much, it’s rich and beau­ti­ful with these deep colours. There’s a lot of nos­tal­gia for me here.

I used to rope the neigh­bours and my cousins into do­ing these lit­tle per­for­mances with me in here, and I’d try and chore­o­graph shows like The Lion King. That was prob­a­bly our most or­gan­ised one be­cause we all made masks. We’ve got it on a video some­where, it was so ter­ri­ble that it was cute.

My par­ents are go­ing to hold onto the piano un­til I buy a house. The house I’m look­ing at buy­ing now has a lot of char­ac­ter, like this place. I don’t think I could live in a house now that didn’t have lots of char­ac­ter, af­ter grow­ing up here.

I have just moved half an hour away from this house now but I still play the piano and sing for my par­ents when­ever I visit. Les Mis is com­ing here soon and I’m go­ing to au­di­tion for that. I’ve been in the show be­fore but this time I’m go­ing to go for the part of Fan­tine.

See more im­ages from this room at Homed, the new home of ideas on Stuff.

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