The Coromandel, renowned for its pristine beaches and lifestyle, is one of New Zealand's most popular holiday destinations – a key factor in Hopper Developments’ decision to create a lifestyle village within the Whitianga Waterways project. Aptly named Marlin Waters, the village has been specifically designed to cater to the more mature resident. It offers an enviable, coastal lifestyle and features Firth’s Devonstone® designer bricks in Premium White which have delivered the clean, modern look Hoppers were seeking. 

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“My involvement with the Marlin Waters development started about five years ago after Whitianga Waterways had already undertaken a lot of the planning work for the new village,” explains John Ottaway from DataPlan in Hamilton. “After the draft plans had been reviewed by Hoppers they decided the design needed a fresher look. They definitely wanted to use a brick veneer but also something that was more up market - with a beachy feel. Firth Devonstone® designer bricks seemed like the obvious choice to me.”

John had spent 15 years working for PlaceMakers prior to starting his own design business and had a very good relationship with the local Whitianga PlaceMakers owner, Joe Reece, who introduced John to the development. “Together we looked at products that were available and would work with what Hoppers wanted and we came up with a proposal for various solutions for the development - including the cladding - using Firth Devonstone® designer bricks in Premium White, which turned out to be exactly what they were after,” adds John.

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Peter Abrahamson, Project Manager for Marlin Waters explains, “obviously a key driver for any development is cost so we were looking at how we could efficiently build the village and create a desirable location for future residents. When Joe and John submitted a proposal with materials supplied locally by the Whitianga PlaceMakers branch, many of them Firth products, their recommendations made sense. It also gave us what we wanted in the way of a brick look for the cladding and a more modern look for this waterside location.”

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“Firth being a preferred supplier of PlaceMakers meant we were able to recommend the use of the Firth RibRaft® Foundations System, Devonstone® Designer Brick in Premium White, Keystone Compac® IV Retaining and Exposed Aggregate Concrete for the driveways and the paths,” adds John.

John says there is another very exciting element to the new village. Once he became aware that Hoppers were targeting early or pre retirees John suggested they consider LifeMark Certification for the village. “I went to Hoppers to see if we could design around this. They thought it was a fantastic idea and jumped at the chance to produce LifeMark certified homes.”

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“The LifeMark certification provided a guide to the houses that we think will adapt really well with the aging resident. What we wanted to do was make it easy for residents if there was a health scare or a change in their mobility by ensuring the houses can adapt with them,” adds Peter.

“The units are spacious and they have simple, practical design advantages such as levered door handles, wider doorways, easy access showers, light switches at the right height and a whole lot of other small details - clever features to help people adapt as they age,” says John. 

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“Joe Reece at PlaceMakers has been the driver in getting the supply of products and colours to the project,” adds John. “He’s been the one that has tied it all together with Peter and myself.”

“It’s been a very collaborative, local approach between John, Joe, ourselves and our very good builder Nick Gill from Cove Construction,” says Peter. “We listened to all of their recommendations and have been guided by their suggestions. It has worked marvellously well and we are wrapt with the result.”

What is LifeMark Certification?


Principal:                             Whitianga Waterways Ltd

Architectural Designer:     DataPlan Designers

Builder:                               Cove Construction Ltd

Location:                             Marlin Waters, Whitianga

Products:                            Firth RibRaft® Foundations System, Devonstone® Designer Brick in Premium White,

                                             Keystone Compac® IV Retaining and Decorative Concrete